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Spain: skills anticipation and future sectoral training needs - outlook and challenges

The Observatory of Occupations of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) has published its 2018 Forecast and identification of training needs report. It addresses skill mismatches in the labour market to ensure that the public training offer responds to current and future demands of the national production system.

The series of forecast reports produced since 2015 is a task of the Observatory stipulated in the Act 30/2015 that regulates the vocational training system for employment.

Methodological approach

The study uses different quantitative and qualitative research techniques to:

  • identify occupations that offer good employment prospects at state level, as well as at regional (autonomous communities) and local (provincial) levels;
  • collect information provided by experts with relevant labour market knowledge in training and professional matters in business and trade union organisations, and in public administrations;
  • conduct in-depth analysis of the findings and identified training needs.

For each occupation, the report includes a record with the technical/professional and cross-sectoral training needs identified by the experts, as well as quantitative information describing the current situation, trends and territorial distribution of that occupation. The 2018 report includes 194 primary occupations with good employment perspectives.

The medium-term forecasts indicate, as does Cedefop's new European skills forecast for Spain, that an important portion of job openings will be generated by replacement needs and not by job growth. New jobs, though important, will weigh little and, in the short term, most jobs will come from the need to replace workers retiring or changing occupations. The challenge will be to attend to these replacement flows, as shown in the table below.

 

 

Emerging occupational profiles and new training needs

An important factor to consider in designing any training offer is that replacement of the workforce will be largely carried out with professional profiles that are different from those of the people to be replaced. Technological evolution will require that new workers have a higher level of qualification, and a different set of knowledge, skills and competences to face new realities (such as robotics, digitisation, 3D, big data, industry 4.0., and the circular economy). Training provision has to enable them to perform new and/or the same tasks (but in a different way) required in the affected economic activities, a challenge both for initial and continuing VET systems. Results from these forecasts are used to set training priorities and are referenced in two calls for subsidised training, at state and regional level.

INCUAL, the body responsible for designing VET qualifications, has already started to update and, where appropriate, design occupational standards that meet (future) labour market needs. These standards are used to set VET qualifications and training programmes. A reform to speed up the process is being planned.

The annual forecasting reports are a useful tool for designing VET and for career guidance and are aimed at a diverse public: VET managers and providers; companies; employed and unemployed workers; employment agencies, teachers and trainers; universities; and social partners). They complement other Observatory publications and reports and, together with contributions made by the social partners and the Autonomous Communities, offer a good starting point in designing better-informed policies.

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