Does the European labour force needs a skill upgrade?

The financial and economic crisis shattered the EU-Strategy’s attempt to increase the employment rate to 70% among 15-64 year olds by 2010. The new Europe 2020 strategy envisages a 75% adult employment rate by 2020; however, this goal also seems unrealistic in light of the economic crisis which has caused the EU’s employment rate to drop significantly below 70%. A crucial question now is whether a skill upgrade of the European labour force would help to increase the employment rate, especially among youth. It is necessary to remember that there is no single European labour market: the skill composition of labour supply and demand as well as their changes are highly differentiated cross-country, leading to all sorts of equilibria.

In summary, it can be said that the educational expansion of the European economically active population will not stop in the next decade; it is still prominent on policy agendas and its benefits outpace its cost, especially if one takes a broadview and considers aspects like the cultural, societal and political benefits of a better educated population. Furthermore theories and forecasts suggest that high profile jobs will continue to be requested by companies. So will elementary occupations that can be neither offshored nor replaced by technology because they require interaction and physical presence.


6 thoughts on “Does the European labour force needs a skill upgrade?

  1. I am not sure I agree with this as we consistently hear of the number of highly qualified and skilled university graduates who are left struggling to find employment. Another topic often discussed is the mismatch between the courses on offer from universities and the real labour market needs, with many graduates ending up in positions for which they are over qualified or which are unrelated to their discipline, purely due to the lack of existing opportunities. To me it seems the unemployment rate is partly to do with the number of lower skilled jobs which are available and the fact that people who have studied for years to ‘better themselves’ do not want to fulfill these roles. I do think however, that if the demand for lower skilled workers could be met from migrants in order to stimulate the economy this could in the end create more of these high profile positions discussed and perhaps the situation would change.

  2. These they are more and more usual to hear a sentence ” i was not admited just because i studied too much”. On the other side I understand sometimes employers that they don’t need somebody with PhD for some routine accounting job. Where he just have to know to which account he have to write this entry and so on. And also he wants more money then some student from vocacional training school aimed for this kind of branch. But I think there are possition where are needed people like this with higher education, because they can bring really great ideas and systems to compeny and can help with their knowledge and deep and global view of the point.

    But know sais that person who has a PhD has this global view and deep knowledge. Especialy in today’s world where you even can get a diploma for money…

  3. Im also not so sure if the European Labour force need a skill update. In my opinion there are already to many university graduates who cannot get a job becouse of the the high competition. At the same time companies mean that they are having problems finding competent staff for vacant positions. I agree with the comment above, there is a mismatch between what people study and the skills that are actually needed on the labour market. This means that we have many university graduates who cannot get jobs in their area.of their studies and doesnt want to take “lower” jobs because then their studies would be for nothing. Therefor there are unemployed university graduates at the same time as companies have difficulties to find staff. I think rater than a skill update there should be a skill make over and educational focus should be on areas where theres is a need for workers. Education should match the demand of the labour market.

  4. In my opinion, you should not refer the question to all of Europe, but consider the situation specifi for each countries and their regions. In Germany, for example, there is a shortage of qualified engineers. For this reason, you can recently notice a marked increase in immigration numbers of young engineers from other EU countries (particularly of Spain). Regionally based, for example, there is a high medical shortages in East Germany. In countries such as Greece or Spain, we got the opposite. There are enough well-trained workforce, but work in this area does not exist. One should not generalize the issue by lump together the whole of Europe, but take a detailed look where and what kind measures must be taken to solve the relevant problems.

  5. I think that not in all but in most of European countries the one of the main problems especially for youth unemployment is the low level of education. For instance, in Latvia 71% of unemployed young people have low levels of education. However, the education level rising is an expensive process for each country, and today all countries could not to afford this. In my opinion, as a solution for this could be a private business involvement in education. For instance, Latvian largest pharmaceutical company puts money into the university to prepare the company with the necessary specialists. As a result, the company have the specialists what it need and these students do not remain without work because since they start their studies they are guaranteed a job.


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