Unemployment rates continue to run high across Europe; 10 June saw the European Commission publish its much-anticipated Skills Agenda. It is a welcome step towards addressing this challenge, and one that will need to be further built upon, writes Alba Xhixha, Senior Communications and Government Affairs Manager at Aspect Consulting.
Despite a plethora of policy initiatives, unemployment rates have only decreased slightly – at 18.8%, the youth joblessness rate is more than double that of the overall population. The situation is equally challenging for older citizens, who are more likely to suffer from long-term unemployment and are at greater risk of poverty.
Paradoxically, despite the ‘over-education’ in Europe, two million vacancies remain unfilled – particularly in STEM areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This has huge implications for sectors such as Big Data Analytics for example. Indeed, 40% of European employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need to grow and innovate. PwC’s Annual CEO Survey, published this year, also reveals that 72% of CEOs globally are concerned about the availability of key skills.
To make matters worse, job markets are being transformed by technology and the impact of automation on employment will only increase over time. A recent study by Deloitte showed that around 114,000 jobs in the legal sector alone are likely to become automated, and another 39% of jobs are at “high risk” of being made redundant by machines in the next two decades.