Future of work - bridging the skills gap is crucial

In the opinion on the future of work adopted at the March plenary, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) called on Member States to focus on education and training and adapt their education systems to the needs of the labour markets, which are currently undergoing rapid and dramatic changes brought about by the new digital and industrial revolution.

According to some studies, technological changes will lead to significant disruptions in employment and business models in some sectors, with 9% of jobs at risk of being displaced due to automation. Another 25% of jobs could be transformed, with half of their tasks becoming automated. At the same time, new jobs will be created and it is expected that nine out of ten future jobs will require digital skills.

According to the EESC, the necessary tools for grasping the job opportunities of the future are quality basic education, high-standard training, lifelong learning, upskilling and the reskilling of all workers.

The EESC said it was concerned about the future of vulnerable groups in Europe, which included the low-skilled. It called on the Commission to take the necessary steps to prevent them from being marginalised as a result of their inability to keep pace with the speed of change.

Drafted at the request of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU, the opinion on the future of work was presented at the conference on Bridging the Skills Gap for Job and Growth Creation – The Business Perspective, held in Sofia on 22 March. (ll)