EU Commission: Skills for Jobs in the EU Textile and Clothing Industry to Evolve

In a recent analysis report, the EU Commission foresees that skills needed by jobs in the EU textile and clothing industry will continue to evolve from 2013 to 2025. Specifically, the report argues that:

First, employment in the EU textile and clothing sector is forecast to decline by 13.4% from 2.5 million in 2013 to 2.1million in 2025. Even with shrinking employment levels, because of the need to replace nearly 1 million workers forecast to retire or leave the sector, about 611,000 job openings are anticipated from 2013 to 2025.

Second, employment in the EU textile and clothing sector is no just declined, but also evolved. From 2013 to 2025, demand for “crafted and related occupations” as well as “plant and machine operators and assemblers” will decline 34% and 13% respectively, whereas job openings for “technician and associated professional occupations” are estimated to grow at a modest rate. Among the estimated 611,000 job openings, 93% will require high or medium level qualifications.

Third, in terms of specific skills needed by the EU textile and clothing sector based on where the sector might progress towards 2020:

1) Technical production competencies will remain central to recruitment with increased focus on the demand for versatile staffs that can operate across different workstations.

2) Supply chain management, business, sales and marketing skills (including the skills in international trade) are growing in importance. For many EU textile and clothing companies, “trade has taken place of production”.

3) The EU textile and clothing industry is further expecting skills on technology, innovation and sustainability. Leading technology-led areas include mass customization, 3D body measurement, advanced CAD and eCommerce technologies, internet infrastructures for custom-tailored clothing and business-to-consumer eCommerce among retailers.

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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

6 thoughts on “EU Commission: Skills for Jobs in the EU Textile and Clothing Industry to Evolve”

  1. I think this article is very interesting because the EU Commission foresees that skills needed by jobs in the EU textile and clothing industry will continue to evolve from 2013 to 2025 technologically at the cost of the vocational aspect of the industry. I think it is interesting to consider how the decline in “crafted and related occupations” will affect those related markets, industry programs in schools, and create advantages for other countries. Evolving skills related to technology could cause programs that may have focused on vocational skills to shift programs to teach students technological skills to be able to fill job openings in the evolving industry, which seems to be more capital and technologically invested. Conversely I wonder how this will give advantage to students, universities, and countries who focus on vocational skill sets. For example, if China continues to develop textile and apparel programs focusing on vocational skills and technological skills how will this effect job competition internationally, and China’s role in the industry.

    1. Great comment! I have been thinking similar questions as well, but find difficult to give an answer. On one hand you have a very fast-changing fashion industry which implies those job skills needed by the industry may also change fast. However, on the other hand, academia operates in a very rigid way and has a tradition against change. No professor would admit his/her knowledge is outdated/the course subject is no longer important. There is even debate on what the mission of college education is and how college education shall be different from vocational schools. For example, does TMD/TM students compete with graduates from RISD, FIT and Parsons? If so, how we can make our students more competitive in the job market? Shall TMD offer more hands-on courses and less courses that focus on “critical thinking”? Hard to get a consensus view at this point.

  2. I think this post was very interesting because the EU commission is anticipating the evolution of skills from 2013 to 2025. Due to the evolution, this industry is foreseeing unemployment at decline rates of 13.4% meaning that employement will go from 2.5 million to 2.1 million by 2025. On a lighter note because of the decline an opening of 611,000 jobs would be available to those unemployed. Although, these positions would have to be filled by those with high or medium level qualifications making these positions very competitive. With this evolution, I am interested in seeing how this changes curriculum requirements within fashion related majors and programs. Furthermore, how will this change the requirements for entry level positions.

  3. Although the EU textile and clothing industry may be different from the US textile and clothing industry, this data analysis is still very real to our circumstances. The textile and apparel industry has changed a lot over the years and will continue to evolve. However, employment has been declining in this industry and is expected to continue this trend in the future. High-level job qualification opportunities are growing in demand and low-level jobs are decreasing, making education and specific skill training to be growing in importance. Business and sale jobs, which cannot be replaced by machines and technology, are growing in importance. This is not expected to change in the future as technology evolves. I found it interesting how “trade has taken place of production.” This proves the importance of globalization in the future, which will have the same effect on all nations around the world.

    1. Do not mind this comment!! This is not my wordpress I handed in for TMD433. Sorry !
      ***Tdiete is my wordpress website name- see following comment *

  4. Although the EU textile and clothing industry may be different from the US textile and clothing industry, this data analysis is still very real to our circumstances. The textile and apparel industry has changed a lot over the years and will continue to evolve. However, employment has been declining in this industry and is expected to continue this trend in the future. High-level job qualification opportunities are growing in demand and low-level jobs are decreasing, making education and specific skill training to be growing in importance. Business and sale jobs, which cannot be replaced by machines and technology, are growing in importance. This is not expected to change in the future as technology evolves. I found it interesting how “trade has taken place of production.” This proves the importance of globalization in the future, which will have the same effect on all nations around the world.

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