The severe shortage of qualified employees
with the right skills is holding back investment by more than 70 per cent of
European companies, according
to a survey by the European Investment Bank. Hiring suitable staff and
retaining them for the long term are the biggest hurdles why companies shy away
from making large investments. The financial resources would be available, but
there is lack of staff due to the acute shortage of skilled workers throughout
the European Union. Central and Eastern Europe in particular complain about
unqualified staff on the labour market.
Education and training as a key resource
It is not only the Member States and their
companies that have recognised the problem in the labour market. The European
Commission has proclaimed 2023 as the Year of Skills, see News 01/2023, and is urging Member States to invest more in
education and training.
The European Parliament has also dealt with
the issue in the Social Affairs and Employment Committee. For example, a report on making vocational education and training a tool for
workers' success as a fundamental element of the economy in the European Union was prepared by Polish MEP Anna Zalewska (ECR/PL). In its report, it calls for
60 per cent of adults to participate in further training, as stated in the
European Pillar of Social Rights. Thus, inequalities in adult education are to
be eliminated. Due to the digitisation of many work processes, companies should
rethink about the digital skills of their staff.
Lifelong learning for all generations
The shortage of skilled workers was
particularly noticeable in the COVID-19 pandemic and it became clear that the
European Union must remain globally independent, also in terms of labour.
Strengthening vocational education and training will enable the resilience of
the pan-European economic performance. In addition, demographic change must be
taken into account in order to also accompany older workers in further
qualification measures or necessary retraining processes. Thus, an
intergenerational approach is absolutely necessary to jointly overcome the