3.3 Skills forecasting
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The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) (“Αρχή Ανάπτυξης Ανθρώπινου Δυναμικού”) is the responsible authority for identifying future demands in the labour market. For the systematic employment forecasting and the identification of skills gaps, the HRDA conducts various research studies as described below.
It implements a 10-year employment forecasts on a regular basis. The forecasts aim to contribute substantially to the planning and implementation of education and training activities through the provision of employment needs forecasts in the Cyprus economy. In 2022, the HRDA released the latest study entitled “ Forecasts of labor demand and supply in the Cyprus economy 2022-2032” (Προβλέψεις ζήτησης και προσφοράς εργατικού δυναμικού στην κυπριακή οικονομία 2022-2032). The study provides forecasts for employment needs in the period 2022-2032. Total employment, in the period 2022-2032, is forecasted to exhibit an upward trend. During this decade, it is forecasted that employment will increase by 52.577 persons or 12,1%. It is noted that total employment since 2015 (358.202 persons) began to gradually rebound from the significant decrease observed in the period 2011-2015, a consequence of the economic crisis that also affected the Cyprus economy (decrease by -40.012 persons or -10,0%). It should also be pointed out that a very small increase occurred in 2020, despite the effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreover, the HRDA performs on an annual basis the “Identification of Employment and Training Needs” study (“Διερεύνηση Αναγκών Απασχόλησης και Κατάρτισης κατά το 2022”), which provides annual estimates for the number of persons required for specific occupations and the needs for specific skills. According to the National Reform Programme 2022, on the basis of these estimates, suggestions are put forward for the implementation of training programs. The study collects and analyses the views of social partners, other stakeholders and enterprises.
In addition, in March 2018 the HRDA published a study named “Identification of green skills in the Cyprus Economy 2017-2027 (“Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Πράσινες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-2027”). This study provides forecasts for employment and demand for labour in the economic sectors and occupations with participation in the green economy for the period 2017-2027. Additionally, it identifies the green skill needs for specific occupations of the green economy of Cyprus.
Moreover, the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA) had recognized the promising prospects of the blue economy for economic growth and job creation and proceeded with the publication of the report under the title “Identification of blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2016-26 (2/2016)-EN”. According to the study, eight out of ten employed persons in the blue economy will work in maritime and coastal tourism, reflecting the importance of tourism to the blue economy of Cyprus.
The main output of these forecasts are extended reports, which are published on the website of the HRDA. Furthermore, the HRDA participates actively in initiatives and actions that are promoted at European level in the framework of the European network Skillsnet for skill needs forecasting.
The Ministry of Finance (Υπουργείο Οικονομικών) provides projections for the growth of the economy, which include forecasts of value added, productivity and employment, and submits proposals for the required policy changes.
The Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth and more specifically the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education (STVE) (“Διεύθυνση Μέσης Τεχνικής και Επαγγελματικής Εκπαίδευσης και Κατάρτισης”) is responsible for the introduction, with the participation of the social partners, of new fields of study and specialisations, the design of curricula and the identification of special skills needed.
To carry out these tasks, while considering the developmental needs of the Cyprus economy and the latest scientific and technological advances, the Department of STVE has developed close cooperation with all major stakeholders such as Ministries, the Directorate General Growth (Ministry of Finance), the social partners (employers´ and employees´ organisations), teachers and their associations, the University of Cyprus (UCY), the Cyprus University of Technology, the Pedagogical Institute (PI) and the HRDA. The findings of the research studies of the HRDA are also taken into account for the design of curricula.
In addition, the Centre for Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE) of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth participates in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), a survey recognised by OECD and delivered by ETS. PIAAC assesses the level and distribution of adult skills in a coherent and consistent way across countries. It focuses on the key cognitive and workplace skills that are needed for successful participation in the economy and society of the 21st century.
Skills anticipation outputs are used by policymakers to develop appropriate policies to support public and private organisations involved in human resource planning in adapting to the country’s skill needs. Other key users of the results from the HRDA skills anticipation studies are public and private organisations, future graduates and their families, school counsellors, general education and VET institutions (universities, colleges, and public and private schools of all levels), employers, trade unions, the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.
More specifically, the outcomes of the HRDA forecast are used to support the acquisition of skills by young people in the following formal education programmes, as stated in the National Reform Programme 2022:
Secondary Technical and Vocational Education (STVE) (“Διεύθυνση Μέσης Τεχνικής και Επαγγελματικής Εκπαίδευσης και Κατάρτισης”). A review and reform of the fields of study and specialisations offered by Secondary Technical and Vocational Education (STVE) has already been done in order to become more attractive and relevant to labour market needs.
- Evening Schools of Technical and Vocational Education (ESTEE): The Evening Schools are equivalent to the formal STVE programmes offered in mainstream Technical Schools, adapted to the needs of adult students. Therefore, Evening Schools operate as second chance schools, offering good quality mainstream VET education to adults who are early school leavers, so that they have the opportunity to re-enter the formal school system, obtain a qualification at upper secondary level, move on to tertiary education if they wish and/or re-enter the labour market as skilled workers.
- The Post-Secondary Institutes of VET (PSIVET): The programmes offered by PSIVET are especially designed, after consultation with the social partners and stakeholders, to respond to the needs of emerging economic sectors and to be relevant to labour market needs.
The outcomes of the HRDA forecast are not yet used in a systematic way in the non-formal and informal learning field.
Τhe information and the findings of these studies are disseminated in a number of ways:
- The HRDA organises press conferences for the presentation of its forecasts and other studies;
- Special lectures are organised for secondary school guidance counsellors in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Sport & Youth, and for employment counsellors in collaboration with the Public Employment Service;
- Findings of the forecast studies are disseminated to the public through the media such as articles in newspapers and participation in relevant radio and television programmes;
- Detailed forecasts of employment demand for around 300 occupations are provided on the HRDA website. Users may search for information on occupations of interest.