Future Skills for Future Jobs
Anticipating labour market and skills needs
The need to address Labour Market Skills Issues at European level
Europe, potentially, faces a major skills problem in the near future.
Over 20 million new jobs are expected to be created between 2006 and 2020. Another 85 million jobs will be available to replace people who retire or leave the labour market for other reasons.
Although more jobs and more job opportunities are forecast, the working age population will fall by around six million. While there is the possibility of oversupply in some areas, there is considerable evidence of increasing needs for, and even shortages of, people with adequate levels of qualification in many areas.
The Lisbon employment rate target of 70 % by 2010 could prove to be far too low for 2020. In just over a decade an employment rate of around 74 % will be required to avoid a possible shortage in the workforce due to different occupational structures and potential skill gaps.
Europe needs to do more to anticipate changing skill needs. Information on skill needs at national level is no longer enough. A European labour market requires European-level information. In November 2007, the Education Council adopted a resolution on ‘New Skills for new jobs’
This request has been taken up in the June 2008 Council conclusions ‘Anticipating and matching labour market need with special emphasis on Youth – a jobs and skills initiative’ and asked the European Commission for a comprehensive assessment of Europe’s future skills requirements up to 2020, taking account of technological change and an ageing population, and to propose ways to anticipate future needs
Employment Trends by 2020
Services Sector still expanding
The skill needs forecast uses a model to project demand by occupation and qualification, and replacement demand
The general shift away from the primary sector (especially agriculture) and traditional manufacturing industries towards services and the knowledge intensive economy is a trend likely to continue as a key feature in Europe over the coming decade.
Around 29 million new jobs by 2020
The forecast 20.3 million additional jobs between 2006 and 2020 in the EU-25 (EU-25 plus Norway and Switzerland) comes despite the loss of well over three million jobs in the primary sector and almost 0.8 million in manufacturing. Almost three quarters of jobs in EU-25 in 2020 will be in services.
The construction sector tends to stagnate with less than half a million jobs between 2006 and 2020. Distribution, transport, hotels and catering together are projected to see employment growth by more than 4.5 million in the next decade, while non-marketed services are expected to increase by slightly more than 4.9 million . Business and miscellaneous services have the best prospects with more than 14 million additional jobs being created between 2006 and 2020Consewquently almost three quarters of jobs in the EU 25 in 20220 will be in services
Due to the need to replace people leaving the labour market, there will be significant numbers of job openings even in the primary and manufacturing sectors.
In addition to 20.3 million new jobs created between 2006 and 2020, another 85 million jobs (four times more) will be available top replace workers who retire or leave the labour market The total number of job openings therefore will be 105.3 million in EU 25 between 2006 and 2020
It is important that policy-makers, education and training providers, guidance services and citizens are aware that these sectors will remain crucial components of the economy and viable sources of jobs.
Projected sectoral changes, as well as changes in how work is organised and jobs are performed, will significantly affect the occupational skills needed in the future. However, the nature of many jobs and their skill requirements will change.
Polarised job growth: high-skill, low-skill
Currently, almost 40 % of people work in higher-level occupations such as management, professional work, or technical jobs. Expansion of high- and medium level skilled occupations is expected to continue over the next decade.
An increase is also projected for some jobs requiring no or lower level skills such as elementary occupations, defined as jobs that consist of simple and routine tasks that require basic education to carry them out. In contrast, there will be fewer jobs for agricultural skilled workers, clerks and craft and related trades workers
The forecast focuses on three levels (high, medium and low qualifications). The results highlight the general increase in qualification levels across most jobs and all occupational categories – including those at the lowest rung of the skill-occupation ladder. The forecast points to elementary jobs being increasingly occupied by workers with mainly medium qualifications (Figure 3). Consequently, at the broadest level, the projected changes are even more dramatic for qualification levels than occupations.
In total, the net employment increase in Europe of over 20 million jobs between 2006 and 2020 comprises increases of almost 19.6 million jobs at the highest qualification level (graduate and post-graduate qualifications, including vocational equivalents) and almost 13.1 million jobs at medium level (upper- and post-secondary level, especially vocational qualifications). This is offset by a sharp decline of almost 12.5 million jobs for those with no or low formal qualifications and 50% medium qualifications. Demand for low qualifications will fall from a third in 1996 to 18.5 %
Although most additional jobs over the period 2006-20 will require high-level qualifications, most job openings (new jobs plus jobs open to replace people leaving the labour market) are expected to require medium-level qualifications, which traditionally include vocational qualifications. Some 55 million, nearly 58 % of the forecast total of 105 million job openings, will be at medium-level. Many of these jobs will require vocational Qualifications
Of the remaining job openings, almost 41 million jobs may require high-level qualifications. Less than 10 million jobs will be open for applicants with no or low level qualifications. To meet this demand the current qualification structure of the workforce needs to change in the coming decade.
• Based on these findings, overall demand for skills is likely to continue to rise.
• The young generation entering the labour market in the next decade cannot fulfil all the labour market skill needs.
• For Europe to remain competitive, policies need to be in place to ensure that the workforce can adapt to these requirements. Europe needs a strategy to satisfy the demands of the service-oriented knowledge-intensive economy.
• People must be able to adjust their skills constantly to continual labour market change. This has implications for education and training and lifelong learning.
• A consistent and ambitious strategy is required that
reduces the flow of early school leavers and dropouts,
establishes a comprehensive skills plan for adults/adult learning and
which increases the supply of people trained in science and technology,
as well as vocational fields.
• Education and training systems also need to be equitable to reach those who need to improve their skills, but often face barriers to participating in learning. Skills obtained outside the formal education system, whether at work, during leisure time, or abroad, need to be visible and properly valued.
• It is important to validate and accredit people’s knowledge, skills and competences, irrespective of how they were obtained, particularly those with low-level formal qualifications, older workers, people with a migrant background and returners to the labour market. Otherwise, we waste skills, failing to make the best use of those we have. Common European tools, principles and mechanisms developed in the Education and training 2010 work programme need to be part of such packages.
• However, education and training measures alone cannot solve the potential problem of a major skill shortage in Europe. Projected occupational change requires Europe to maximise the employment potential of its workforce.
• This has implications for employment, enterprise, migration, mobility and social policies in Member States. Employment and social policy measures need to be more flexible to provide more support for those needing to change their job.
• Bringing more women into the labour market and longer working lives are crucial measures for Europe’s sustainable future.
• Given the shrinking workforce across the EU and trends in workforce demand, intra-European mobility will not suffice.
• The potential role of migration from outside the EU needs careful examination.
• The forecast results emphasise the need for policymaking to initiate measures in time to prevent, or at least alleviate, risks of skill mismatches (shortages as well as surpluses). There is a need to understand in more detail working conditions, skill and competence requirements and profiles of both precarious and knowledge-intensive job segments.
Uncertainties remain about specific developments in demand for occupations and qualifications, among which is how supply and demand interact. From a policy viewpoint, it is important to know if a skill mismatch is temporary or transitory (short-term labour market frictions that disappear after some time) or a long-term phenomenon requiring targeted action. To answer these and other questions Europe needs to invest in further research and analysis on the early identification of skill needs.
The situation in Malta
Although policy measures are being developed to address labour market and skills needs the following areas need to be given priority
• The role of the MCESD in social dialogue to reach agreement on policies regarding partnerships and on their respective implementation is urgent
• Investing more in research and innovation in particular in private-public partnerships
• Policies on research and innovation for competitiveness
• The need to improve the quality of teacher training programmes cannot be underestimated as proposed by the EU Commission and COM (2007) 392 final
(see also EESC opinion SOC/288 Improving the Quality of Teacher Education)
• There is the urgent need to have a high level of infrastructure that will incentivise more women in particular women who have just given birth, to enter and remain in the labour market. This includes accessible and affordable childcare facilities up to adolescent years, matching the working hours of both parents (also through after school services) Addressing maternity leave issues is highly important
• More family-friendly working time organisation in the public and private sectors
• It is also important to utilize with more equity the voluntary sector in particular for non formal learning programmes (2011 European Year Voluntary Activity)
• Addressing high rates of illiteracy and absenteeism with urgency
• Creating a more child/student centred education system with a holistic approach that will also provide the necessary skills building for team work, creativity and innovation, leadership, a quality lifestyle that will balance life and work (reform of primary education)
• Instilling a culture of research and innovation at all levels of education (European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009)
• Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset at all levels of education: primary, secondary and tertiary
• Intergenerational Transfer of knowledge policies and practices in the public and private sectors
• Effective action in lifelong learning and adult learning
Grace Attard, NCW President