Petrochemicals sector contributes over one million EU jobs

The Petrochemicals industry employs over 400,000 and indirectly another two to three times that amount ensuring the provision of over one million jobs.  Aggressive global competition has pushed the European petrochemicals sector to seek productivity gains by reducing the number of people directly employed and outsourcing functions such as those relating to safety, logistics and training.

Whether the employment provided is direct or indirect, the sector provides a great many people and their families with economic means.  In such highly educated roles such as those typically held by employees in the petrochemical sector, the salary is accompanied by generous healthcare and pension plans.  The type of compensation packages held by employees enables them to be self-sufficient and positively contribute to society and the economy.

Chimicals: Labour productivity


Chemical sector leads EU industry in employee investment

Due to the high-level nature of the work in the petrochemical sector where technological processes are in constant evolution, personnel are highly educated.  The petrochemicals sector makes substantial investments in education and knowledge development through its hundreds of research contracts with laboratories, universities and institutes.  This educational focus aims to ignite an interest in students in the fields of chemistry and science from a young age and for older students, to increase process and products knowledge while boosting productivity and minimising the use of raw materials and energy.

For further information on how Petrochemicals Europe supports education initiatives, please see our dedicated page. Alternatively, to view how the chemicals industry supports education programmes, you may visit as well as view academia and innovation programmes at

The substantial investment in education and training for employees in the European chemicals sector has seen personnel costs rise by 3.6% annually compared with increases of only 3% among the manufacturing sector.  The graph below illustrates that the European chemical sector is the lead sector in terms of cost (and therefore investment) per employee.

Labour cost per employee in the EU chemicals industry


Safety: best practice is yielding results

In comparison with the overall European manufacturing industry, the EU’s chemicals industry is twice as safe.  The chemicals sector has a target of zero incidents and fatalities and makes substantial investments in improving technology and in implementing behaviour based safety (BBS) programmes.  Petrochemicals Europe encourages each and every organisation in the European petrochemicals sector to implement and evolve best practice procedures to fully optimise the safety of its work environment and that of the communities in which it operates.