EESC: Urgent need to address labor shortages and skills mismatches

In October 2022, the Employers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee and BusinessEurope organized a webinar on supporting the recovery through effective job-to-job transitions. The aim of one of the panels was to discuss the role of active labour market policies in supporting job-to-job transtions.

It was clear from the discussion that companies are facing a very difficult situation, which highlighted worsening labor shortages, skills mismatches and serious recruitment challenges. Pariticpants came to a conclusion that there is a need to support labor market transitions between jobs and sectors, as well as transitions from unemployment to employment. Among other things, it is important to come up with different strategies for returning people who can work back to the labor market.

Digital and green transitions must also be taken into account, as it is very important to equip workers with the skills these transitions require as soon as possible. Better anticipation, matching the skills that are needed and those that are available, as well as upskilling and reskilling are essential, especially for workers who are at risk of job loss, vulnerable or young people. In addition, cooperation between public and private employment services and career guidance are needed.

These main points were also very important for the debate with Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, which took place at the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee on 15 December. The debate focused on young people and the labour market in the context of the European Year of Youth 2022 and the European Year of Skills 2023. I had the honor of representing the Employers’ Group in this debate.

Among other things, I emphasized the need to urgently address labor shortages and skills mismatches, that act as barriers to growth and prosperity. I highlighted that competitiveness and higher productivity based on skills and knowledge are the recipe for the well-being of our society. However, in order to be competitive and productive and to be able to create and maintain jobs in these difficult times, companies need regulatory breathing space, a favorable business environment and a workforce with the right skills, such as STEM and the skills related by the twin transitions and entrepreneurship. I also mentioned legal migration as part of the solution. While we need our youth, our youth need us and we must equip young people with the skills they need.

More information about the webinar and the plenary session can be found on the EESC’s website.

Jana Hartman Radová, EESC Member of Employers’ Group

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