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Joint reaction of the EFBWW and FIEC on proposed EU skills agenda

29/01/2020

According the Cedefop Skills forcast, the changes in skills demand in terms of overall percentage for the construction industry between 2018 and 2030 should be 4.3 percent. This might not seem a high percentage, but the future skills’ needs will impact the construction industry significantly. Overall there are seven main reasons for this:

  1. the construction industry is considered as highly labour intensive;
  2. there is a significant progressive ageing demographic development of construction workers in many Member States;
  3. due to the continuous increase of emigration and mobility flows, a skills drain was created in the construction industry in many CEEC’s;
  4. there is an expected positive impact of employment and an increased need for qualified and skilled workers in construction due to the transition to a greener, circular and climate–neutral economy, resulting in new combinations of material and new material
  5. a predicted investment increase driven by the increased demand for energy-efficient structures, should boost employment in the construction industry;
  6. the impact of automation, digitalization and other technological changes to improve resource efficiency, which will also lead to a substitution of labour in construction and the necessity to provide training to many construction workers;
  7. changes in the work organization and the division of work, also driven by social partner decisions

The overall increase of jobs in construction by 2050 is expected to be between +0.3% to +2.8%.

EFBWW and FIEC expect that measures to address future skills challenge in the greening industries, such as the construction industry, will in the future mainly strongly impact the non and low skilled workers.

Already today we observe an overall increased demand for skilled construction workers. Probably because of increasing demand for renovation and upgrading of the building stock, including insulation and more efficient heating, electricity or plumbing. In addition, the construction sector is currently undergoing a rapid technological change in its production methods, such as pre-fabricated housing and greening of materials. This increased demand mainly results from policy changes and related shifts in relative prices for energy and other natural resources.

Given the pace at which new and emerging green jobs in the construction industry are emerging, higher skilled levels in the construction industry are needed rapidly. For this, many construction workers will need a fair transition support.

Currently, there are significant differences between member states on how they address the challenge of increasing the professional skills and qualifications of construction workers. The differences vary from almost excellent to poor. Although, each country has a specific labour market model and vocational and professional training framework, the exchange of best practices is overall considered a very useful.  

Despite this it should be noted that within the construction we are confronted with a labour market contradiction: on the one hand unemployment rates remain at high levels in many Member States, in particular amongst youngsters, whilst, on the other hand, many vacancies are available in the construction industry. Workers and construction companies are confronted with difficulties in matching the right skills and professional qualifications with the needs of the companies. Also the proportion of female construction workers in the overall construction industry remains low.

ATTACHED YOU WILL FIND THE JOINT COMMENTS OF EFBWW AND FIEC regarding the proposed updates EU skills agenda.

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