September 24, 2018

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Skills for Jobs: Creating More Resilient Businesses for Growth And Jobs In Europe

Europe is losing economic ground quickly with almost six million jobs shed since 2008. Can "Skills for Jobs" become a game changer?

Stefan_csr_europe

By Stefan Crets, Executive Director, CSR Europe 

CSR Europe made strides to move from conversation and debate to collaborative action at the launch of our European Business Campaign ‘Skills for Jobs’ on April 18, 2013.

As Microsoft's Lori Harnick and Intel's Dr. Thomas Osburg explained in recent posts, we want to enhance corporate efforts on the skills and employment agenda in Europe through workplace innovation, entrepreneurship support, and boosting skills for employability and social inclusion.

Amongst the broad support for Skills for Jobs at the launch, a number of key speakers struck a chord with me related to the objectives at the very core of the CSR Europe’s campaign.  

Europe is losing economic ground quickly with almost six million jobs shed since 2008. José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs from the International Labour Organisation called the campaign a "game changer" acknowledging that only in very few areas, can one find a stronger convergence between public policy, business, and the citizens of Europe for investing in human capital.

Also reiterated by the CSR Europe board, was a pressing need to collaborate and work in partnership in order to address these issues to create more resilient businesses in Europe.

Ingredients for Successful Partnerships

Participants at the event explored their understanding of what makes successful partnerships. Some of the key ingredients required for achieving impact and scale that came up included mainstreaming CSR Europe's Enterprise 2020good practice in business thinking and operations, social dialogue, coherence and alignment with public policy, and the power of leveraging large companies in a world of change. 

Businesses can run initiatives by themselves – and sometimes successfully as well - but attendees agreed that impact is most powerful when business, public policymakers and stakeholders collaborate to bring out the best in each other.

Part of CSR Europe's contribution is to document and catalogue good practices as they emerge offering other companies the opportunity to replicate and scale the impact.

For example, GDF Suez, a leading multinational electric utility company is working on workplace innovation by rethinking careers as lifespans increase from the point of view of human resource processes and health and wellbeing. Intel is empowering entrepreneurship through projects such as LIFE e-Learning for entrepreneurs.

At the national level, CSR Europe’s partner organization Jobs and Society Sweden is showing how business is already making a real impact with "Mentor your business," the second largest mentoring program for entrepreneurs in the world. This model, driven primarily by business, has already inspired 10,000 businesses to start within one year in Sweden.

Improving Skills Matching

In a world where over 95 percent of all jobs now have a digital component, Constantijn van Oranje-jobseekersNassau, Head of Cabinet of the European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes,  spoke on the need for engagement for tackling the mismatch between skills and jobs. Specifically, in the area of technology, ICT and the supply of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates, not only to generate employment but also to improve Europe’s attractiveness for entrepreneurship, research and innovation.

Under the campaign, in the Skills for Employability focus area, companies will work on the Deploy Your Talents project to step up the STEM agenda for Europe. In addition, the Early Career Levers For European Youth project will work on internships and apprenticeships to involve more and better-trained people through qualitative apprentice and internships.

The Future: From Crisis to Opportunity

At the end of the day, while the mood was boisterous and support unanimous, it is true that Europe has a number of macroeconomic and structural issues to resolve in coming years. I believe that restoring confidence and aggregate demand by itself will not be enough to bring back pre-recession employment levels and will not prepare the workforce for jobs of the future. The Skills for Jobs campaign demonstrates how with collaboration, Europe can adapt and move beyond the crisis.

We aim to publish intermediate results in Spring 2014 with the campaign culminating with final results at a CSR Europe Enterprise 2020 Summit in 2015. Watch this space!

Related:

Effective Career Levers For Youth: Putting More Europeans Into Jobs

CSR Europe: Driving Corporate Sustainability through Social Innovation

The Need For a European Business Campaign on “Skills for Jobs”

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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