Qualified specialists are absolutely essential if there is to be innovation and economic success. This is also true in the cleantech economy. Do we have enough skilled workers in Switzerland? What qualifications are necessary? Here we present a short analysis of the situation as it relates to the SCMP.
For cleantech companies, the availability of skilled workers (68%) and persons with managerial skills (76%) is one of the most important factors in innovation and subsequent market success. This conclusion was drawn in a survey conducted in 2009.
Too few specialists
The analyses carried out as part of the SCMP show that there is, in general, no lack of qualified cleantech specialists. It would seem, however, that there are too few skilled workers in certain occupational fields such as mechanics, construction engineering and construction in general. However, sectors displaying a potential lack of specialists are fairly flexible over whom they can recruit, since companies can often employ people with qualifications not directly related to the sector. The flexible job market also helps to bridge any gaps. Nevertheless, 65% of cleantech companies surveyed stated that they had difficulties recruiting skilled workers.
VET programmes up-to-date
The vast majority of young workers receive state-of-the-art training. Many VET programmes have been updated in the last five years or are in the process of being updated.
If systemic approaches (e.g. to building renovation) are to be successful, there needs to be better coordination of work-based training in the different occupational fields.
Recruitment difficulties in R&D
When looking to recruit R&D staff, many companies in the cleantech sector experience greater difficulties than companies in other sectors. R&D staff shortages could become an increasing problem in many sectors such as energy, chemistry, plastics, graphical design, electrical engineering, paper, wood and metal production.
Continuing education and training (CET)
Cleantech companies place considerable importance on continuing education and training (CET). An innovation survey conducted in 2008 by ETH Zurich's Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) showed that 32% of employees in cleantech companies undergo CET courses, compared to 26% in other companies. This supports the premise that cleantech companies are more likely to give their staff extra training in response to technical developments.