2023, European Year of Skills

2023, European Year of Skills

75% of European companies have difficulties in finding staff with the necessary skills

Qualifications and skills for a job are key to improving the competitiveness of enterprises and fostering innovation. The European Union perceives that skilled workers have better employment opportunities and more opportunities to participate in society.

This is why 2023 has been designated as the European Year of Skills, to put skills at the centre of the agenda and help people get the qualifications they need for quality jobs. This is a tall order, as currently more than three quarters of EU businesses report difficulties in finding workers with the necessary skills, and the latest Eurostat figures show that only 37% of adults receive regular training. The Digital Economy and Society Index shows that 4 in 10 adults and 1 in 3 working people in Europe lack basic digital skills.

There is also a low representation of women in technology-related professions and studies, with only 1 in 6 IT specialists and 1 in 3 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates being female STEM graduates.

The European Year of Skills actions

To improve vocational skills, the European Commission proposes to give a new impetus to lifelong learning:

· Promoting greater, more effective and inclusive investment in training and upskilling to tap the full potential of Europe’s workforce, and help people move between jobs.

· Ensuring that skills are matched to the needs of the labour market, including in cooperation with social partners and enterprises.

· Matching people’s aspirations and skills to labour market opportunities, especially for the green and digital transition and economic recovery. Special attention will be given to activating more people for the labour market, in particular women and young people, especially those not in education, employment or training.

· Attracting people from third countries with the skills the EU needs, in particular by strengthening learning opportunities and mobility and facilitating the recognition of qualifications.

To achieve these objectives, the Commission will highlight EU initiatives in this area, including EU funding possibilities, to support their adoption, implementation and delivery on the ground. Awareness raising campaigns will also be organised across the EU to support partners’ mutual learning in skills upgrading and retraining. The European Year of Skills also aims to help further develop skills information tools and promote tools and instruments to increase transparency and facilitate the recognition of qualifications, including those awarded outside the EU