Paul Rübig (EESC): European Year of Skills


Providing the Skills for a Competitive European Union

The European Year of Skills 2023 will have to switch into high gear to enable the EU to reach its breathtakingly bold 2030 human resource goals: creating 15 million new jobs, qualifying five million entrepreneurs and closing the skills gap for more than 100 million people.

The transition towards a digital, green and inclusive economy is driven by technological innovation. To succeed, millions of Europeans must be ready and prepared for the jobs of the future. Otherwise, the gap between tax revenue and public spending will widen dramatically, curtailing the ability of the government to deliver public services. People, their talents and labour are our economy's greatest strategic asset and therefore deserve the same or greater attention compared to technical innovation.

The main challenge facing the European economy in accomplishing its skills goals is the need for more efficient and affordable solutions. Existing solutions are fragmented, expensive and often not accessible to MSMEs, which generate two out of every three jobs in Europe. These enterprises typically have no access to HR tech, making it difficult to support their employees in closing their skills gaps. However, MSMEs are a crucial engine of economic growth, vital for achieving our strategic goals.

Another challenge is creating new enterprises and jobs that will transform the economy. We must develop a true European entrepreneurial mindset capable of executing projects that fit European objectives. Unless a large-scale, high-speed solution is implemented, the human factor will be a bottleneck for economic growth and prosperity.

Personal and regional economic development needs to be synchronised and includes every level, spanning from regions to employers and individuals, and take all public and private education and training facilities into account.

Social architecture recognises the importance of collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders in driving economic development. It seeks to create a supportive and inclusive economy that allows everyone to contribute and benefit, regardless of gender, sexual preference, or racial and religious background. This approach is based on the belief that a strong and trusted community is essential for creating economic opportunities. Technology is a way to empower all stakeholders to take action themselves and drive economic growth.

An example of a social architecture platform was developed by, highlighting the journey of each job seeker and employer in the regional economy. It shows how these journeys are interconnected and how AI, powered by five tested algorithms, makes meaningful connections at scale. When we understand the customer journey of each stakeholder and their relationships, opportunities are automatically identified for collaboration and growth.

Through the platform, education and training tailored to every person's desires and abilities close the skills gap and identify and nurture entrepreneurs. MSMEs finally have an equal playing field in talent recruitment and retainment with multinationals. Regions improve their competitive position to mobilise all their talents and assets.

What is clear is that we need a pan-European approach to close the skills gap and create new jobs, including by offering an Al/machine learning-driven platform. By implementing a regional European platform on a large scale and at high speed, the transition towards digitisation, becoming greener and inclusion can be pushed into a higher gear. The bold ambition for new enterprises and jobs can be realised.

Paul Rübig, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Editors: Daniela Vincenti | & Katharina Radler |