3. An Inclusive Europe

3.1 Adapting skills to the shifting realities

New jobs will require new knowledge and skills for workers to adapt and progress in the fast-moving labour market.

Technological change brings many opportunities but is not risk free.

The future world of work will bring enormous opportunities for people but it will depend on the way we address the technological revolution. This will include adjustments in education and training systems, labour market policies and business approaches.

The risk is that unmanaged structural change could create new jobs and sectors with lower employment prospects for more vulnerable groups of our working population.

With the changing content and nature of jobs, many employed people will need new knowledge, skills and mindsets. 

As a result of these changes, the importance of learning during adulthood is growing for all workers. Adult learning is perhaps the stage that requires the development of new models in most countries in order to teach and train workers during their lifetime, combining formal, non-formal and informal ways of gaining new knowledge.

Broad participation in training remains a challenge as only 11.1 % of EU28 adults are participating in training and these participation rates are not improving with time.

Those individuals likely to be most affected by changes in the world of work are under-represented in training.

It is important that adult-learning systems are inclusive and aligned with skills needs in order to reach out to workers at most risk of job loss or displacement.

There are large participation gaps between adults with low skills and their more-skilled peers, between those earning low wages compared to those on medium-high wages, and between different sectors of the economy.

Overall, there are broad opportunities for improving the general coverage of adult-learning systems. More can be done to engage the adult population in learning as workers with jobs at significant risk of automation show lower participation rates in training compared to workers at low risk of automation. 

There is a need to step up efforts and look for new orientations regarding skills.

As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, governments need to act and reinforce the competitiveness of their economies for the future. They will have to find an investment framework and develop strategies to enhance skills sets for the future job markets. This would allow people to maximise the benefits of technological revolution and avoid negative scenarios.

Europe's prosperity and social model depends on its ability to ride the new wave of innovation ahead of us, whilst ensuring broad participation in the benefits accruing from these innovations.

Source: DG Research and Innovation, Chief Economist - R&I Strategy & Foresight Unit based on Eurostat (online data code: trng_lfse_01)
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Source: DG Research and Innovation, Chief Economist - R&I Strategy & Foresight Unit based on Eurostat (data from Labour Force Survey)
Note: Values correspond to EU28.
Click to enlarge
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3.2 New ways of working