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Brussels, 16 December 2008

New skills for new jobs: better matching and anticipating labour market needs

The European Commission today presented proposals for better job matching and more effective ways to analyse and predict which skills will be needed in tomorrow's labour market. New Skills for New Jobs proposes a series of actions to match skills with vacancies, to organise skills assessments on a permanent basis, to pool the efforts of Member States and other international organisations, and to develop better information on future needs.

The measures proposed in New Skills for New Jobs will help Europe address the short-term employment impact of the economic crisis and improve the long-term job prospects of the EU workforce. They are part of a package of measures for Growth and Jobs and complement the European Economic Recovery Plan, which was presented by the Commission on 26 November 2008.

A joint statement by Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and Ján Figel', Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, explains the importance of New Skills for New Jobs:

"It makes no sense in these difficult economic times to see unemployment rising but job vacancies still not being filled. We must ensure a better match between the skills that workers have and the jobs that are available. And in the longer term, we must make efforts to better anticipate the skills the European economy will need, and reform our education and training systems so that they can properly prepare people for the jobs that will exist in 10 years' time."

The right skills for tomorrow's jobs

Across Europe, technological change, globalisation, the shift to a low-carbon economy, ageing populations and the evolution of social structures all mean that both labour markets – and the skills people need – change ever faster. Therefore we must make sure to anticipate future needs and respond by enable people to develop the right skills.

The European Commission is proposing to improve the monitoring of short-term trends and to develop tools for better matching of skills and job vacancies on the European labour market. The Commission will also develop better information on needs in the EU in the medium and long-term, with regularly updated projections of future labour market trends and analysis of skills needs by sector. It will improve the EU's understanding of global challenges related to skills and jobs through cooperation with third countries and international organisations. Moreover, the Commission will help Member States and regions and all actors involved in the upgrading and matching of skills by mobilising existing Community policies and funds, especially the European Social Fund.

Assessing labour markets up to 2020

With today's proposals the Commission responds to a request by the European Council to provide an assessment of skills needs up to 2020. One of the preliminary findings is that Europe will see the creation of new jobs in the service sector: by the year 2020, almost three quarters of jobs in the EU-25 will be in services. Further, there will be many jobs created in high-skilled occupations, but also some job creation in "elementary jobs". More and more jobs will require high and medium education levels from the working population. Across sectors, transversal and generic skills will be increasingly valued on the labour market: problem-solving and analytical skills, self-management and communication skills, the ability to work in a team, linguistic skills and digital competences.

For more information:

More information on News Skills for New Jobs:

More information on Employment in the EU:

More information on the European strategy and co-operation in education and training:

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop):

The Cedefop Skills Forecast to 2020:

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