Luxembourg is expert at importing knowledge: both long term immigrants and cross border commuters. Of the near half a million people living in the country, 44% are non-Luxembourgish and of the 360,000 people working here, 42% non-resident commuters. Overall, this adds up to two-thirds of the workforce originating from outside the country. Neighbouring regions in France and Belgium have been badly affected by deindustrialisation, providing a pool of labour to power Luxembourg’s economic growth. Although economically stronger, Germany also exports talent.
These cross border commuters tend to be relatively highly educated. A study from 2003 by the national statistics office showed that 33% of commuters had a higher education qualification and 54% has completed further secondary education, both figures higher than the resident workforce. Resident foreigners are a mix of the highly educated and relatively unskilled manual workers. Immigrants come from around the globe, so offering employers a range of languages and cultural sensibilities to chose from.
Knowledge acquisition is encouraged with the establishment of the public University in 2003 to complement the existing private and regional higher educational environment. Government and industry are also pro-active in helping staff acquire new skills though extensive life-long learning programmes.