On 16 February, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise hosted a seminar in Brussels, together with the Swedish Trade Unions’ Brussels Office and the Swedish EU Presidency. The topic of the seminar was the skills transition and pathways to a socially fair and competitive Europe. Among the speakers were Mattias Dahl, Deputy Director General at Swedish Enterprise, Johan Pehrson, Minister for Employment and Integration, and Joost Korte, Director General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.
In last year’s State of the Union Address, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen proclaimed that 2023 would be the European Year of Skills. This initiative, for which a legal act is currently being drafted, is meant to combat worrying trends noted in the European labor market – labour shortages, lack of competence in fundamental workforces and difficulties in attracting skilled third country nationals to the EU. By urging the member states to invest in professional education and upskilling, the Commission hopes to resolve the labor market situation. But how exactly will this transition occur? Who is responsible for making it happen? And what are the underlying reasons for investing in education and upskilling? All of this, and much more, was discussed during last week’s seminar, titled “The skills transition – Pathways to a socially fair and more competitive Europe”, co-hosted by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, the Swedish Trade Unions’ Brussels Office and the Swedish EU Presidency.
A recurring point of discussion was competitiveness. During his intervention, Minister Johan Pehrson pointed out that ensuring that the labor force has the right skills is key to securing European competitiveness. In this respect, the Minister spoke about the Swedish labor market model, particularly the recent labor market reform that has taken place in Sweden, through which a study grant has been made available for working professionals. This was applauded by Director General Joons Korte, who not only ensured that Sweden need not worry about interference with its labor market model, but also commended Sweden for its efforts to introduce the said study grant.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s Deputy Director General, Mattias Dahl, continued the topic of competitiveness during his intervention. Among other things, Dahl pointed out that it is important to ensure that the labor force is skilled in areas that are beneficial to the specific business in which they are working, and that ensuring this is a shared responsibility between the workers, employers and the government. Worrisome trends regarding high-level scientists were also discussed, where it was said that it is imperative for European competitiveness that Europe works to keep its talents from leaving the Union.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise thanks the Swedish Trade Unions’ Brussel Office and the Swedish EU Presidency, along with everyone else involved, for an interesting seminar!