Skills Intelligence Publication

“We can’t afford it”

The ‘war for talent’ is increasingly raging: with a vacancy rate of 4.9% – the 2nd highest in Europe – our companies have been fighting a bitter battle to attract people for years. Companies are increasingly taking on an important training role themselves. Out of necessity, because it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the people with the required qualifications. But also because of the ever faster succession of technological developments. Due to digitalisation, energy transitions and technological progress, ‘lifelong learning’ is a necessity to remain relevant – from an employer’s and an employee’s perspective.

Nevertheless, we note that there is still a lot of room for improvement. In terms of learning culture, but also in terms of timely anticipation of exactly which skills will be needed and how we can therefore work towards them. In this way we also prevent people from being left out of these transitions because their position is no longer relevant and we can retrain them in a timely and appropriate manner. The situation is extremely urgent: we simply cannot afford not to use all our talent to the maximum.

Together with Agoria and Deloitte, we want to anticipate this ‘skills transition’: how do we identify which functions will be phased out and which functions will gain in importance? How do we evolve optimally from point A to point B? We formulate concrete recommendations for companies, individuals and policy and illustrate this with a case study. After all, training and lifelong learning are a crucial key to a sound labor market and competitiveness policy. Our recommendations aim for a more holistic approach to the skills transition.

Monica DeJonghe
Director General VBO and executive manager of the competence center ‘Work and social security’

“Retrain not to mop with an open tap”

Jobs disappear, new roles are created and almost all existing jobs change significantly in terms of content. We have been making this clear since 2018 with Agoria’s Be The Change programme. These labor market analyzes provide us with clear insights into the future of work. Sometimes counterintuitive, often challenging but always hopeful. Or how about “for every job that automation disappears, three times as many new jobs are created in a digitizing world?” Do you feel the challenge when we say: “In order to reach an employment rate of 80% in our country, our economy must run at double speed”? And do you also find it encouraging that the demand for jobs will outstrip the supply of people available to do them. After all, that means that today we can offer work to anyone who wants to work.

The governments in our country are not taking up the gauntlet too emphatically. Some well-intentioned measures make the difference between working and not working a bit bigger. These measures are mainly aimed at activation. A justified consideration