ILO joins informal meeting of EU Ministers of Employment and Social Policy on mismatch between skills and jobs

At the Informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Employment and Social Policy (EPSCO), Heinz Koller, ILO Assistant Director-General, underlined the importance of adapting skills policies to anticipate skills needs for future green jobs.

News | 04 May 2023
BRUSSELS (ILO News) - Heinz Koller, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, addressed the Informal meeting of employment and social affairs ministers (EPSCO), chaired by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. He participated in the first Plenary meeting which discussed how to prevent a mismatch between skills and jobs in times of transition.

Only half of the workers worldwide hold jobs which correspond to their level of education, ILO has found. This means that the other workers are either overeducated or undereducated. Workers in high-income countries are more likely to find jobs that match their education level compared to workers in low-income countries. “The matching rate between the education level and jobs is higher for wage earners than for the self-employed, as well as in countries with lower pay inequality,” Koller said.

The EU is currently facing relatively high skills and labour shortages. “In Europe and Central Asia, we expect a reduction in the labour force of about 2.4 million workers between 2022 and 2024, partly due to demographic trends,” he explained. Unemployment and skills mismatches are expected to slightly increase. At 58%, the participation rate in the region is projected to be among the lowest in the world by 2024.

Skills mismatches negatively affect workers, enterprises and countries.

We need a comprehensive, strategic approach to deliver the just transition, which will create opportunities. Countries must review their skills policies and anticipate skills needs for future green jobs"

Heinz Koller said.
The ILO has estimated that the transition to a green economy could create 18 million jobs worldwide. Enhanced policy coordination, social dialogue and partnership are essential, in addition to sound national sectoral policies.

Mainstreaming the just transition through technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and lifelong learning systems is equally important. Initial education for young people as well as continuing training for adult workers and job seekers should target specific jobs and sectors and prioritize the needs of vulnerable groups, the Regional Director said.

“Whilst this is a considerable challenge, we can rely on several initiatives, including the EU Social Pillar Action Plan, the proposed EU net zero industry act and its provisions on skills, as well as the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, which the EU supports,” Koller concluded. He also asked to actively support the ILO Director General’s initiative to form a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which aims to ensure a sustainable future.