Bridging the Skills Gap – The Employers' Perspective

by the EESC's Employers' Group

Addressing the skills gap is a multi-dimensional task that requires work not only on education and training systems but also on changing people's mindsets. Due to the rapid pace of change we are seeing today, it is not easy to accurately identify future skills needs. We all have to accept that the future of work will require lifelong learning, to ensure that we constantly adapt our skills to changing needs. These were among the conclusions reached at the conference on "Bridging the Skills Gap for Growth and Job Creation – the Business Perspective", which took place on 22 March 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The conference concluded with the joint declaration of the Employers' Group and the Association of Organisations of Bulgarian Employers. This declaration calls for a number of practical measures aimed at adapting labour markets and education systems to the needs of the future. These include removing obstacles to job creation, motivating people to develop skills themselves and adopting an approach based on 'flexicurity' in order to adapt labour legislation to the needs of the modern economy.

Within education systems, we need to foster creativity, an entrepreneurial mindset and mobility in education and training at all levels, to invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, to foster lifelong learning while promoting work-based learning and VET and to strengthen links between businesses and education providers, thereby avoiding skills mismatches. The full text of the declaration can be downloaded here.

The event was organised jointly by the Employers' Group and the Association of Organisations of Bulgarian Employers, and was one of the official events arranged by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. (lj)