Overview of the Greek approach
Greece undertakes skills anticipation through:
Skills assessments, identifying current skills gaps through the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and trends by expert panels;
Skills foresights analysis, identifying future occupations and the skills they will require;
Ad hoc surveys of employers aimed at gathering information from companies about their skill needs.
In May 2015, the Mechanism for the Identification of Labour Market Needs (hereafter the Mechanism) was established under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare and the scientific guidance of the National Institute of Labour and Human Resources (NILHR) (2). The aim of the Mechanism is to provide reliable data for the design of policies related to (a) employment, (b) vocational education and training, and (c) human resource development in general. The NILHR has developed the methodology for the Mechanism, which is based on multiple sources of data to provide an assessment of skills needs. However, these sources are dissimilar which poses methodological challenges.
There are several fragmented initiatives on skills anticipation, including studies on skills demand and employment forecasts by occupation and sector, carried out by the social partners, various national agencies, educational institutions, and consultancy firms.
Overall, the activities described above are intended for various users including policymakers, career counsellors, young people, jobseekers, and employers.
The overarching aim of skills anticipation in Greece is to contribute to an improved matching of the demand for, and supply of skills (3). The system of vocational education and training has suffered from weaknesses in relation to its low attractiveness to learners and employers and its low responsiveness to labour market needs. The economic crisis has accentuated these weaknesses. In order to remedy this situation, steps have been taken to better anticipate the future demand for skills linked to improved dissemination of the results within the vocational education and training system (4). In this context, the main target of the Mechanism is to produce reliable results at regular intervals. The other skills anticipation exercises undertaken are also aimed at improving the supply of skills so that it better matches demand.
There is limited regulation for skills anticipation. The mandatory development of processes to identify skills needs has been provided by Law 4336/2015 (5).
Skills anticipation is the responsibility of the following ministries:
The Ministry of Labour, Social Security, and Welfare;
The Ministry of Education, Research, and Religion;
The Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism.
The Ministry of Labour is responsible for the Mechanism, the most prominent skills anticipation activity currently in the country. The NILHR, operating under the Ministry of Labour is responsible for the methodology used in the Mechanism.
The governance of the Mechanism, falls under (a) the Scientific Committee involving five members, including CEDEFOP. The Committee was instituted in October 2016 to have overall responsibility for methodological consistency and steering of the project, (b) the Coordination Committee, involving the above ministries, the NIHLR, the National Organisation of Skills Certification and Vocational Guidance, the Association of Greek Regions, the Manpower Organisation (the public employment service), CEDEFOP and the social partners, and (c) the Operational Network of institutions and organisations ensuring the involvement of all organisations with an interest in skills anticipation (e.g. research centres and universities that could contribute to the Mechanism’s operation).
The Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare coordinates the function of the Mechanism and defines its inputs and outputs according to the decisions of the Coordination Committee. Since 2017, the Ministry of Labour is cooperating with CEDEFOP in order to improve the governance and overall use of skills anticipation initiatives in the country (6).
The role of stakeholders
The key stakeholders are the three government ministries (see section “Governance”), the National Statistics Agency, the Manpower Organisation (PES), local and regional authorities, research centres, and the social partners (employers’ and employees’ associations). Other stakeholders include career and professional guidance providers.
The NILHR is the public body most involved in coordinating skills anticipation policy. It plays a coordination role in implementing EU programmes in Greece closely related to employment. Finally, stakeholders sit in the Coordination and Scientific Committees and the Operational Network of the Mechanism. The dominant stakeholder is the NILHR and this is seen through its extensive input to government policy on skills anticipation and its scientific role in the design and the coordination of the methodology of the Mechanism. Regarding social partners, they have participated in the development of the Mechanism. It is intended that they are further and more systematically involved in upcoming steps.
Some social partners are involved or run skills anticipation exercises, often to address sector-specific labour market needs at local and regional levels. They also use information stemming from skills anticipation exercises in the various training programmes and career guidance services they provide. For example, the General Confederation of Greek Workers, the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants and the Civil Servants’ Confederation all run training and re-training programmes aimed at unemployed people and private sector employees, targeting sectors such as, tourism, teaching, informatics, etc.
The intended target groups of skills anticipation exercises and most importantly of the Mechanism include policymakers in the various ministries and government agencies, the PES, local and regional authorities, the social partners, education and training providers, and career and vocational guidance providers.
Funding and resources
Most skills anticipation programmes are financed by the government, mainly through the three governing ministries (see section “Governance”). Funding in several cases is provided through European Structural Funds. ESF are being used to steer the education and training system closer to the needs of the labour market under Operational Programme ‘Human Resources Development’ and the Partnership Agreement 2014-20. The establishment of the Mechanism of Forecasting the Needs of Enterprises in Occupations and Skills was co-financed both by the ESF and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).
Funding is also derived from the non-government sector, . The main actors in this regard are social partners including the General Confederation of Labour, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, and the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Trades that produce studies on skills demand.