New Skills agenda for Europe should focus on transition skills

The European Commission has consulted CEC European Managers, as one of the six European social partners, on an update of the EU Skills Agenda. In its contribution, CEC highlighted the need to provide workers and managers with the right skills required by the green and social transition, also in the framework of the new European Green Deal. Skills are the backbone of our economy – therefore we need to invest in them at all levels.

CEC appreciates the reference by the European Commission to the need to provide the right skills required by the green and social transition. It is a very much welcome sign of the ongoing “mainstreaming” of the sustainability revolution into all domains of EU policymaking; a process that is very much needed if we really want to make Europe the first carbon-neutral continent. Thinking these large-scale changes together with a digitalised world of work requires a holistic set of skills.

We would therefore have preferred to see this new attention to the green transition from a wider, more encompassing perspective that includes also the aspect of social, organisational and managerial sustainability, as highlighted in our Sustainable Leadership guidelines and our ongoing EU project on Sustainable Leadership. Driving our economies and societies through these turbulent, rapidly changing times, towards a sustainable growth path requires a new awareness of the role managers have in this transition (essentially, becoming coaches, trainers, facilitators and networkers), and their specific needs in terms of sustainability skills, to help them contribute to deliver on the main priorities of the EU.

When it comes to the challenges to lifelong learning services provision, a paradigm shift is needed. Public authorities at member states level have for a long time reacted to skills gap instead of shaping the future labour market proactively. Taking a design-thinking approach, we now need to ask which skills will be needed tomorrow. Today, only 17% of managers have received training or education on sustainability, according to our latest report. In the framework of our project on Sustainable Leadership, we will make a thorough assessment of the specific skill mismatches managers have with regards to the transition.

Please find CEC’s response to European Commissions consultation of European social partners here.
The questionnaire to social partners by the European Commission can be found here.