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 and Social Affairs and the scientific guidance of the National Institute of Labour and Human Resources (NILHR/ EIEAD). 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 skill needs. Its methodological framework (data collection and processing, procedures for mapping professional qualifications) was refined in 2017. EIEAD has been publishing reports every six months. The relevant outputs inform the development of new occupational profiles and curricula. The selection of new apprenticeship specialties implemented in the school year 2017/18 were informed by these reports (Cedefop, 2020b).
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.
In 2017-19, Cedefop was invited by the Greek government to provide technical advice towards the improvement of the country’s skills governance. The aim was to improve the management and coordination of skills anticipation efforts, making existing skills anticipation initiatives more useful for policy, and better linking skills intelligence to education and training[i].
The overarching aim of skills anticipation in Greece is to contribute to an improved matching of the demand for, and supply of skills.[ii] The system of vocational education and training has suffered from weaknesses in relation to its low attractiveness to learners and employers and its perceived low responsiveness to labour market needs. The economic crisis had accentuated these weaknesses. 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. 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 to better match demand.
The mandatory development of processes to identify skills needs has been provided by Law 4336/2015.[iii] The legal framework for a skill needs forecasting system was established in 2016 (Law No 4368/2016). EIEAD (the National Institute for Labour and Human Capital) has the mandate to coordinate the development of the mechanism of labour market diagnosis. A coordination committee was put in place, consisting of representatives from the ministries of labour, education, and economy, EOPPEP, regions, OAED and social partners.
In addition, the legal and institutional framework to improve links between education and the labour market was reinforced with the introduction of the National Committee for VET and the change of ESYP into ESEKAAD; this allows better focus on the mismatch between the knowledge, skills and competences relevant to the labour market and those offered by the education and training system (Cedefop, 2020b). For example, establishing centres of vocational education (ΚΕE) offering two-year programmes in universities for EPAL graduates, was a proposal of ESEKAAD that was adopted by the Ministry of Education.
Skills anticipation is the responsibility of the following ministries:
- The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs;
- The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs;
- The Ministry of Development and Investments.
The Ministry of Labour is responsible for the Mechanism, the most prominent skills anticipation activity undertaken 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 NCC, including the main ministries (Ministry of Labour; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism–from now on Ministry of Economy), the NILHR, the EOPPEP, the ENPE, the OAED, and the key social partners (the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), SEV, the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE)); (b) the operational network of organisations involved in carrying out the tasks foreseen under the mechanism’s mandate, such as feeding information into the mechanism’s information repository, carrying out and analysing surveys and studies, and using the outputs for the purposes of policy-making; (c) the Scientific Committee, instituted in October 2016, with main responsibility for ensuring methodological consistency and scrutiny of project outputs[iv].
Crucial to the overall operation of the mechanism is the Operational Network of Bodies and Organisations, coordinated by the NILHR, which has responsibility for implementation of the actions necessary for collecting labour market needs data. The Ministry of Labour, NILHR, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economy, ELSTAT, OAED, EOPPEP, regional authorities, the social partners signing the General collective labour agreement (GSEE, GSEVEE, ESEE, SEV, SETE), and other bodies whose activities may contribute to the operation of the mechanism, in particular research centres and universities comprise the network[v].
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs coordinates the function of the Mechanism and defines its inputs and outputs according to the decisions of the Coordination Committee.
The role of stakeholders
The key stakeholders are the three government ministries (see section on “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 closely related to employment. Finally, stakeholders sit on 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 and updates of the Mechanism.
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 (GSEE), 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 on “Governance”). Funding in several cases is provided through European Structural Funds. 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 also derives 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.