Immediate action is required to solve Europe's skills deficiencies and give
all Europeans a better chance of getting a job in the future, says an
independent expert report published by the European Commission today. The
report - 'New Skills for New Jobs: Action Now' - stresses the need to provide
the right incentives for people to upgrade their skills, to better link
education, training and work, to develop the right mix of skills, and to better
anticipate those skills needed in the future. Today's report is one of the
major outputs of the European Commission's 'New Skills for New Jobs' agenda and
will be presented at a high level conference in Brussels today.
Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment said:
"Improving people's skills will help us out of the crisis in the short term
and prepare for sustainable economic success in the future".
Maroš Šefčovič, Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth,
added "We need to break down the divisions between ‘education and training’
and ‘work’ so that people can make sure that their skills are suited to
evolving labour market needs throughout their lives."
The nature of the problem:
- At present, one in three Europeans of working age has few or no formal
qualifications, making them 40% less likely to be employed than those with
medium level qualifications.
- The employment rate for those with high skill levels across the EU
as a whole is 84%, for medium skill levels 70%, and for low skill levels it
stands at 49%.
- Those with low qualifications are also much less likely to upgrade
their skills and follow lifelong learning.
- Companies that train their staff are 2.5 times less likely to go out
of business compared to those that do not, and
- Education systems that provide adequate skills for all could increase
GDP by as much as 10% in the long term.
Today's expert report calls for action in four main areas:
- Provide better incentives for employers and individuals to up-skill,
and investment in skills must be significant, smart and not just
- Open up the worlds of education and training by making education and
training institutions more innovative and responsive to both learners'
and employers' needs, and by developing relevant qualifications that focus on
concrete learning outcomes;
- Offer a better mix of skills that is more suited to labour market
Better anticipation of future skill needs.
The report points to the inconvenient truth that, despite progress in recent
years, much of Europe is still not sufficiently skilled. Nearly one third of
Europe’s population aged 25-64 have no, or only low, formal qualifications and
only one quarter have high level qualifications. And those who are skilled do
not always have the right skills that employers are looking for, thus creating
mismatches on the labour market. A better mix of skills is required. The
problem is made more urgent by rising unemployment and the demographic
challenges. However, some 80 million job opportunities are expected to arise in
the next decade, according to the latest projections by CEDEFOP, the EU's
reference centre for vocational education and training. Among these jobs,
almost 7 million jobs will be new, and most of those will require a more