IndustriAll Europe and ECEG urge the European Commission and Member States to step up their efforts to implement a European STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) strategy across the continent. The chemical industry will face a deficit of skilled workers by 2030: an 11% labour shortage in 2030, entirely related to STEM disciplines. Only one in five young people in Europe graduates from STEM tertiary education today, which is less than two million STEM graduates a year, according to Eurostat figures.
The chemical social partners recognise that the European Commission has announced a range of initiatives aimed at increasing STEM graduates; at promoting the development of new curricula for engineering and ICT*; and at making the STEM fields more attractive to women**. But practice is lagging behind. With the accelerating digital and green transition, Europe needs to quicken its efforts to provide future-proof curricula – in schools, universities, apprenticeships and in re-skilling and up-skilling programmes – and make them more attractive.
Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe:
“A STEM strategy requires a clear assessment of the status quo and of future needs, and a precise description of the necessary steps to bridge the gap. The responsibilities of all actors must be well-defined. Such a strategy must specifically target women and young people and offer re- and up-skilling opportunities for people who are already active in the sector or currently unemployed. A competitive chemical industry with good jobs in Europe depends on a skilled workforce. A well-founded education and access to lifelong learning are therefore essential.”
Emma Argutyan, Director General of ECEG:
**See Action 13 of the 2020 European Commission’s communication on a Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027.