Increasingly, Romania has taken a more comprehensive approach towards skills anticipation activities, particularly in conducting periodic exercises, to collect skills intelligence, to disseminate to target groups and to use these data in policymaking. ESF funding significantly supports skills anticipation initiatives.
Skills anticipation exercises in Romania take a number of forms, including data collection and forecasting. Specifically:
- skills data are mainly collected by the national statistical office, the National Institute of Statistics, which collects, processes and prepares statistics on the labour market;
- macro-economic forecasting is primarily conducted by the National Commission for Prognosis;
- periodic skills’ anticipation exercises include research and skills forecasting by the National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection/https://new.incsmps.ro/ (Institutul Naţional de Cercetare Ştiinţifică în Domeniul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, INCSMPS), the assessment work on VET and higher education graduate skills by the CNDIPT; as well as projects undertaken by the National Agency for Employment, with co-funding from the ESF.
Other ad hoc exercises include:
- research by the National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection;
- skills assessments in relation to the skills of VET and higher education graduates by the CNDIPT; and
- initiatives from the National Agency for Employment, including co-financing from the ESF through specific sector operational programmes
In addition to the work of these national bodies and institutes, other contributors include research institutes, under the authority of the Romanian Academy, the Institute for Education Sciences (Institutul de Științe ale Educației, IES), NGOs as well as EU agencies, such as CEDEFOP, which help build expertise through cooperation. ESF co-financing has been used by the various funding agencies to co-fund the development of skills’ anticipation exercises.
Skills anticipation is focused primarily on developing (a) skill needs assessments and (b) forecasts of future skill demand and supply to inform policymakers and labour market participants. In particular, skills anticipation activities aim to ensure that education, training, lifelong learning and professional training is effective in equipping the labour force with skills demanded by businesses both now and in the future. Skills anticipation in Romania aims to inform policymakers by providing them with the information required to shape public policies.
While there is no particular regulation which covers skills anticipation, the National Employment Strategy 2014-2020 (Strategia Națională pentru Ocuparea Forței de Muncă 2014-2020) developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, is linked to skills anticipation efforts. The Strategy takes into account demographic factors (population change and projections of future change), the international context (migration trends), and the sectoral and occupational composition of the labour force (trends and expectations). This document constitutes an important base for policies and measures relating to skills anticipation in Romania.
The Integrated Strategy for Human Resources Development (2009-2020) (Strategia Integrată de Dezvoltare a Resurselor Umane 2009-2020) is another important document related to skills anticipation. The Strategy aims to bring about improved predictability/anticipation of skills needs to facilitate the match between the skills people possess and those in demand in the labour market. The Strategy has the goal of creating a national platform regarding the analysis and prognosis of skills demand and supply. According to the Integrated Strategy, skills anticipation exercises should use the National Framework for Qualifications[i](Cadrul Naţional al Calificărilor), Occupational Standards[ii] (Standarde ocupaționale), and the Classification of the Occupations in Romania (Clasificarea Ocupaţiilor din România).
In addition, the Romania’s sustainable development strategy 2030 defines the national framework for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This strategy promotes the sustainable development of Romania by focusing on three dimensions: economic, social, and environmental. This strategy is citizen-centred and faces the challenges of the 21st century by prioritising the role of education to acquire key skills to ensure better work and life conditions.
Governance of the skills anticipation
Skills anticipation is Romania is largely the responsibility of government ministries and agencies, namely the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice. Other important institutions involved in skills anticipation activities are the following.
- The National Commission for Prognosis, which is governed directly by the Prime Minister of Romania and provides the basic macro-economic forecasts.
- The National Institute of Statistics which supplies validated statistical data from its regular research (LFS, national accounts, etc.).
- The National Scientific Research Institute in the field of Labour and Social Protection (INCSMPS) which up until now has been the main supplier of research, studies and forecasting exercises in the area.
- The Ministry of Education governs the CNDIPT, which has played an important role over the past few years by providing data about the skills’ supply and demand while also commissioning studies, research and forecasting initiatives in the field.
- The National Qualifications Authority (Autoritatea Națională pentru Calificări, ANC) also works under the Ministry of Education to conduct skills anticipation activities.
- The National Agency for Employment operates in a similar way under the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice.
- The Institute of Education Sciences is subordinated to the Ministry of Education.
- National Centre for the Development of Technical and Vocational Training (CNDIPT).
The role of stakeholders
Social partners play a role in skills anticipation activities, particularly in conducting data collection. However, the extent to which stakeholders are actually able to use skills anticipation data to influence policy is uncertain. Social partners tend to lobby for policy changes, based on the findings from the skills anticipation activities. One such example is the change in public policy brought about by social partners, both unions and employers, to successfully refocus public policy attention on the need to promote VET as an educational option (Education for All 2015 National Review) through vocational schools and apprenticeships by using evidence collected through skills anticipation measures. Social partners also tend to take a role in bodies such as the Social and Economic Council and the National Tripartite Social Dialogue Council, which enhance social dialogue. These Councils examine and provide opinions on the laws the government submits to parliament.
The primary target groups of skills anticipation exercises are government ministries, specifically, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, as well as agencies which introduce and shape regulations and strategies that contribute to the governance of the skills system. Information reaches these users in the form of data, reports, studies, forecasts, etc. Other target groups include careers guidance counsellors (including those in vocational and general education and the PES), social partners (unions and employers), employers, parent/student associations, education and training institutions, jobseekers (via the PES), researchers/academics, the media, and the wider public. However, it is difficult to assess both the extent to which data reach these other target groups, and the extent to which it is used by them.
Funding and resources
Funding for skills anticipation comes primarily from the state budget on demand from the main beneficiaries (e.g. ministries, state agencies, etc.). In practice, over the past few years annual initiatives were run in this area; nevertheless, the frequency of funding for such initiatives remains irregular. The work undertaken by the National Commission for Prognosis, and the National Institute for Statistics, which are the main data suppliers for any national initiative in the field, comes from the regular allocations of the state budget which funds these state bodies. The development of skills anticipation has been aided by EU funding, primarily through the ESF. This funding has contributed to a number of projects, including funding from the Operational Programme Human Resource Development 2007-2013[iii] to develop forecasting activities and the 2014-20 operational programme dedicated to the area of human resources (the Operational Programme Human Capital).