Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Steel sector careers

Steel sector careers

Steelmaking is a key industrial sector in Europe, but it is changing at a fast pace. Both domestic and global competition is fierce and new skills are in demand. The EU cannot and does not intend to compete on cheap labour and low social standards. Rather than engaging in a price war with other steel-producing economies, the EU intends to become a leader in innovative and high-quality products and stay ahead of the technological curve by investing in new processes and technologies. For this, new investments – also in the workforce – are needed.

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Boosting the competitiveness of the European steelmaking workforce

Several key actions are required to build and foster a competitive European steelmaking workforce characterised by innovation, quality and technology. They include

  • bridging the gap between the needs of the steelmaking industry and the availability of a qualified workforce
  •  raising awareness about steelmaking job opportunities
  • removing misperceptions and tackling negative aspects around steelmaking jobs

Steel sector careers: More opportunities than you can imagine

'Steel sector careers: More opportunities than you can imagine' is part of a communication and awareness raising campaign under the Commission's 'Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills: Towards an EU strategy addressing the skills needs of the steel sector'.

Launched in 2019, it aims to counter the misperceptions that heavily influence the image of the steel sector by

  • overcoming the prevalent opinions and negative perceptions
  • enabling high-skilled workers to understand the positive aspects of steel sector careers
  • enhancing visibility and upscaling the use of existing tools and initiatives for job mobility and steel sector skills development
  • facilitating and fostering skills development in the steel sector, but also showing the level of skills required by the steel sector to attract graduates
  • helping companies in the steel sector to overcome gaps, shortages and mismatches between skills supply and demand

Interim study: European vision on steel-related skills of today and tomorrow

The interim study 'European vision on steel-related skills of today and tomorrow' focuses on the key priority actions in the Commission's blueprint for sectoral cooperation in the steel sector. This includes a thorough assessment of skill availability and shortages in the steel workforce as well as determining the state-of-play of different national vocational education and training (VET) systems. The latter concentrates on 7 target countries: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Additionally, the study provides information on the perceptions that job seekers have of careers in the steel industry, to offer insights into the biases and challenges that may hinder participation in steelmaking jobs. The research outcomes identified some crucial factors that influence skill availability in the steel sector and provide a series of recommendations at different levels.

Key findings

Steelmaking industry in Europe

  • 1.3% of EU’s GDP
  • €123 billion turnover
  • Creates €128 billion of gross added value in EU and plays an essential role in several industrial value chains, including green technologies
  • Supports 2.5 million jobs (327,000 direct jobs, 1.5 million indirect jobs, 677,000 induced jobs)
  • Automotive, construction, mechanical engineering, tubes and pipes, and domestic appliances are among the most important steel-using sectors
  • EU is the second largest steel producer in the world after China (total output 168 million tonnes or 10% of total production)

10 common misconceptions about the steelmaking industry

  • Polluting, unhealthy and energy-intensive activity 
  • Work is manual/physical
  • High risk of work accidents
  • Unreliable employer
  • Concerns for future job security
  • Steady job provider for low-skilled labour
  • Unattractive career choice
  • Low salary
  • Steel plants are dirty, high-temperature work environments
  • Unsuitable for women

The most in demand jobs in the steel sector

Metallurgical engineersData governance specialists
R&D engineersData analysts
Application engineersApplication managers
Energy engineersQuality technicians
Maintenance engineers and techniciansWelders
Automation engineersStructural steel technicians
Process engineersProcess operators
Design engineersFurnace and mill operators
Production managersMetallurgists
IT developersMachinists

Want to know more about these top jobs?
ESCO provides detailed descriptions of jobs. You can also find out what skills and qualifications are needed for these. 

Looking for a job in the steel sector?
EURES, the European job mobility portal, is your one-stop shop for the job market. Check out the jobseekers section to search for steel vacancies anywhere in Europe. You can even upload your CV so employers can find you. Available in 26 European languages.

Communication materials