The State of Skills: Why the EU is Investing in your Talent Development in 2023

17 Nov, 2022gregortowers


Upskilling in Europe is gaining sudden, sharp momentum. Pandemic, technology & changes in the labor market have been prior indicators to invest in talent training. But now upskilling has been projected onto a far greater level. 

The European Union. 

The EU only selects and invests in the most pressing social, economic and political issues to secure Europe’s future. 

These issues feature in the EU’s president annual speech The State of the UnionPrevious years have seen major topics such as COVID-19 vaccination and the environment placed high on the agenda. 

But what is the major focus in 2023? 

“We need much more focus in our investment on professional education and upskilling but we also have to attract the right skills to our continent, skills that help companies and strengthen Europe’s growth…This is why I am proposing to make 2023 the European Year of Skills.”

(Ursula von der Leyen, September 14th, European Parliament)

Backed by Ursula von der Leyen, upskilling ranks highest in the EU’s political agenda in 2023. But what drove the President to make 2023 the European Year of Learning and how will it impact the 160 million professionals in the EU?

4 Key Statistics Sparking Learning in the EU

Here are 4 key stats driving the EU’s 2023 agenda: 

  • 75% of European companies cannot not source the right skilled labor
  • According to Eurostat, only 37% of adults undertake regular L&D training in the EU
  • 40% of adults working in Europe don’t have digital skills 
  • 3% of all available jobs in the EU are vacant 


Upskilling by 2030

The EU has allocated a social budget of 99 billion euros to construct a skills agenda not just for 2023, but until 2030. The budget will interconnect a mass network of EU member states – each with a national coordinator – and training providers.

Moreover, the EU will identify and match talent’s skill set with labor gaps to target unemployment and re-integrate workers into the market post-pandemic. Its outreach also concerns pooling non-EU migrants into the labor market and training for university graduates. 

However, since 40% of adults working in Europe do not have the right digital skills, training will predominantly target technology upskilling. In cooperation with learning providers, strategic investment will be seen in learning tools and innovation to unlock the full potential of Europe’s workforce.

Each EU member state has pledged to provide at least 60% of adults with yearly training by 2030 to bring the EU’s employment rate to 78% and equip at least 80% of the workforce with digital skills.


Prepping People Leaders for 2023  

With von der Leyen’s upskilling agenda, the EU is working towards a sustainable labor market to enable European companies and talent to grow, excel and develop innovation. The EU wants to move forward as a community and leave no one behind by helping people with their professional ambitions.

Based on this high-level political agenda, now is the time to actively and not reactively upskill. 

2022 saw companies invest in strategic L&D topics such as leadership training and career planning for talent. But which tools, programs and structure do people leaders need in place for talent to excel in 2023? 

With Christmas approaching and 2022 drawing to a close, watch out for the follow-up blog on your talent L&D wishlist to take your team into 2023: the European Year of Skills.