Informal Competitiveness Council (scientific research), in Vilnius: extracts from the press conference by Dainius PAVALKIS, Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, and Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN, Member of the EC in charge of Research and Innovation
Lieu: Vilnius, Lithuania
End production: 24/07/2013 First transmission: 24/07/2013
Bridging the gap between skills supply and demand was a clear focus of the second day of the Informal meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council in Vilnius, as EU Research Ministers discussed what skills are needed now and in the future to ensure EU competitiveness in the field of science and innovation.
During the meeting, higher education and business experts along with the research policy makers shared ideas on how to map and develop currently lacking skills and better match skill supply and demand, as well as how to promote competitive skills in the field of science and innovation.
The numbers suggest that there is a growing gap between supply and demand in the European labour market. Although there is an enormous amount of unemployment in Europe, the evidence also shows skill shortages, with certain sectors and regions lacking employees to fit their needs. For example, Europe faces up to 700.000 unfilled ICT jobs.
In total, there are around 2 million job vacancies across the EU, despite high levels of unemployment. In addition to the ICT sector, European labour market needs biologists, pharmacologists, medical doctors, nurses and engineers. Europe also needs 800.000 researchers.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||SOUNDBITE (Lithuanian) by Dainius Pavalkis, Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science: We need more students choosing engineering, technologies, STEM sciences. Maybe we may have to introduce a maths exam as an obligatory for high school graduates. Recent results and today's discussion show that these aspects are important. We see also more interest in medicine. We need to maintain a balance between humanities and sciences to resolve unemployment and meet the needs of our societies. If we use public funding to support students, this must be allocated in the right way, that we allocate the money to those professions and fields that are useful to our economies.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Member of the EC in charge of Research, Innovation and Science: Education and steering people towards the areas in which the most jobs are available is something that does not happen in universities. It needs to happen in primary schools, work through the secondary school system, so that young people have an opportunity to understand what all of these science, technology, engineering and maths subjects mean. But I also think I never see a situation where it is those subjects versus the social sciences. If we are going to solve the big societal challenges; which are the core of our arisen 2020 programme, we absolutely need the social sciences and humanities. If you talk to anybody involved in let's say the development of an aircraft, who is working on cleaner technology or anything that makes us becoming leaders in the aeronautics industry, they will all tell you that they can only develop this kind of technology if they have the social scientists sitting their engineers and technologists. So to understand what the customers are prepared to accept. Same for the automotive industry, for energy and so on. It is not a competition between the two. It is showing young people and helping them at a very early age to why, science, technology, engineering and maths are very important, and showing them also, for young people who see a large group of their pears unemployed today and at the sale time large vacancies throughout Europe in the areas of engineering, technology and IT, that if they want to get good high-quality jobs, perhaps they should be looking at the STEMs subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematic).