Our Position

Resolution: Just skills transition in the changing world of work

Adopted by Eurocadres General Assembly 17 Oct. 2019, Lisbon

New technologies, the shift towards a low carbon economy and an ageing population are having a profound impact on jobs and the skill sets they require. Different reports from the OECD, the ILO and the ETUI have reported both that 32% of current jobs are likely to see significant changes in how they are carried out and also that Europe is experiencing a skills mismatch affecting professionals and managers, where 25 to 45% of the workforce is either under or over qualified.

Nonetheless, changes also hold opportunities. But, the extent to which individuals, firms and economies can harness the benefits of these changes critically depends on the readiness of each country’s adult learning system and lifelong learning to help people develop and maintain relevant skills over their working careers. Yet, the OECD states that many adult learning systems are insufficiently prepared for the challenges ahead and EU figures from 2017 show that only 11% of EU working age citizens participate in lifelong learning.

Eurocadres has constantly called for better re- and upskilling possibilities for workers, also for highly educated but in need of new skill sets. We need good transition support systems to follow along the rapid changes on the labour market. Elements of such a support system include:

  • It is important that access to adequate training is a right (also for self-employed) not a favour for the employee.
  • It is necessary to put in place adequate financial resources, be it by the government or joint funds manged by the social partners. It must be possible to finance and to free up sufficient time for education leave as well as safeguarding financial security of the individual during the training period.
  • Skills acquired at work, non-formal and informal, need to get official recognition by setting up certification systems.
  • Population is ageing in Europe and we need to provide training possibilities throughout the whole career.
  • Women and men need to participate equally in lifelong learning.
  • Social partners and other labour market actors must be involved in planning suitable programmes with higher education institutions. It is important to ensure that the education chain is working and that we train people with the right skills for the right jobs.
  • Higher education institutions need to contribute to re-skilling and up-skilling by providing flexible education, also tailored to the needs of high-skilled employees.

In this respect, lifelong learning is an essential process. We welcome the Commission’s initiative for a European Education Area that aims at increasing the share of people engaging in learning throughout their lives by reaching 25% of the working age citizens by 2025.