The world of work is transforming. I believe digitalization can be a force for better quality work, unleashing higher productivity and opening up new opportunities to work in different ways. For this to happen, we must set the right framework. We must set the right conditions to enable everyone to reap the benefits from the digital era.
One crucial condition is that people have the right skills. That's why the European Commission launched a "Skills Agenda for Europe" in 2016. It sets out 10 actions to make the most of Europe’s human capital, which is crucial to keep Europe on a competitive edge and growing. One of its focus areas for example is better skills intelligence – understanding skills bottlenecks and anticipating needs, including through stronger business-education partnerships. Education needs to be more responsive to labour market needs.
The microelectronics industry is one such area in Europe that faces an acute talent shortage. But this technology is crucial for Europe’s competitiveness. Microelectronics enable many of the key technologies and innovations required for advancing a secure, sustainable and digital economy. Data centers, online platforms, autonomous spacecrafts, blockchain algorithms and 5G infrastructure may serve different purposes but share one vital element: microelectronics. The deepening penetration of electronics in the digital economy and new applications is giving rise to industry requirements for a workforce pool with soft skills and expertise in production technologies, software and data science.
This is why the European Commission encourages new collaboration models between the worlds of education and industry across all business sectors, including in microelectronics. I welcome the fact that SEMI, the industry association representing the electronics manufacturing supply chain, is fully committed to building and maintaining the needed talent pipeline in Europe. I wish you best of luck in your endeavors.
Marianne Thyssen is European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.