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Wood, Paper, Printing

Printing: employment and social issues

Drawn board © NL shop -

Printers rely on being able to work with highly skilled and qualified staff. In the absence of staff with the requisite expertise, some printers prefer to perform training in-house. As the sector undergoes restructuring in view of improving efficiency, the demand for multi-skilled staff increases. Although companies mostly operate on a local market, more and more work and recruit staff across national borders.

Socially responsible restructuring for printing companies 2010

"Best practices in socially responsible restructuring for printing companies" is a one-year project funded by the European Commission. Its aim is to identify and tackle the challenges of the printing sector in both the short and the long-term. The project unites social partners in different European countries to exchange information and best practices on socially responsible restructuring. Its scope covers the different needs of both large companies as well as SMEs. The project organises two workshops and a final conference. At the end of the project, it will also deliver a research study.

Website:  Best practices in socially responsible restructuring for printing companies

Comprehensive sectoral analysis of emerging competences and economic activities in the European Union - printing and publishing sector, 2009

The main objective of this project is to present an analysis to the Commission of the developments in eleven different economic sectors in the EU. It will look at past developments and the main trends and consider future scenarios and their implications. Furthermore, it will present a number of conclusions concerning strategic choices related to skills needs, describe the implications for education and training and include specific recommendations.

A workshop on the publishing and printing sector was held in Brussels on 8-9 January 2009.

Ageing of workers - study on the graphics industry in Belgium

The Belgian printers' federation Febelgra performed a study in 2008 regarding the age structure of workers in the graphics industry. The main conclusions were:

  • The work force leaves, on average, at age 56.5.
  • 15.7% are aged over 51.5.
  • One worker in two is over 40.
  • In Brussels, 22% of the workforce is likely to leave in fewer than 5 years.
  • There are shortages in the labour market, which is moving from a business development background but also posing increasing structural problems.
  • Older workers were seen until a few years ago as expensive; today it is felt their departure represents a loss of expertise; they are thus now considered a valuable asset.
  • Companies are developing and trying to introduce skills management plans and special incentive measures to keep these people in activity.

Febelgra is trying to convince the authorities of the increasing rarity of certain skills on the market so as to give them priority in training schemes.

Figure: workers in employment between 15-64

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