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Industry in general and the automotive industry in particular is the backbone of the European economy: the EU economy has been recovering from the recession of 2008, but unemployment has continued to rise. However, still in 2013, four out of ten European employers reported difficulties in finding employees with the right skills. There is not so much a shortage of supply for the workforce in general, but rather a skills mismatch between the available workforce and jobs in the EU labour market.
What can we do to counter this mismatch?
There is an apparent long-term shift towards high-skilled and more knowledge-intensive work. New technologies and the growing automation of manufacturing processes will also require all industry workers to acquire more advanced technical skills. Automotive employers therefore depend not only on sufficient supply of STEM graduates; They need also to recruit and develop staff that are both technical specialists and have the problem-solving and team-working skills necessary to adapt to rapid technological change.
How can we ensure that the automotive industry workforce lives up to this challenge?
Education, training and lifelong learning are among the most important instruments to improve the competitiveness of the automotive industry. Factors such as the responsiveness of education and training systems, the career choices made by individuals and the wider economic context (the number of jobs available) may influence the skills mismatch either positively or negatively. National governments need therefore to rapidly align education and training systems with the labor market.
How can we make sure that employers, employees, education and training providers collaborate efficiently?
The Automotive Skills Council wants to answer these questions: and provide recommendations to the Member States, the European institutions and the industry itself.