Skills become increasingly important

IF – 05/2023

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 current challenges.