This article analyzes the occupational structure of 25 european union countries during the period 2000–2004. Shift-share analyses are used to decompose cross-country differences in occupational structure into within sector and between sectors effects. The static analysis for 2004 shows that the new member countries employ a lower share of skilled workers because their industry structure is biased towards less skill-intensive industries and because they use fewer skills within industries. The differences in the shares of (high-skilled) non-production workers are dominated by the between (industrial) effect. In contrast, the dynamic analysis of 2000–2004 showed that changes in the share of high-skilled non-production workers are mostly driven by within sector changes, which are probably related to skill-biased technological change. Similar trends in the countries’ within effects support the catch-up of the new member countries’ skills demand, while the structural developments that could equalize the industry mix of the new and old member countries are related to increased domestic demand and will probably take time.