I c - destefanis local skills development in italy


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The upgrading of workforce skills is key to the competitiveness of SMEs. In today’s business environment there is a premium on innovation that enables firms to develop new products and services, new production processes and new business models. This requires both in-house innovation and the ability to absorb knowledge from other firms and organisations, both of which call for a skilled labour force. Skills are also a critical but understated resource for entrepreneurship seen in the sense of business creation. Similarly to workforce skills, entrepreneurship skills will boost the competitiveness of local businesses thanks to the improved strategic and management competences of the entrepreneur.

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I c - destefanis local skills development in italy

  1. 1. International Workshop Skills Development for SMEs and Entrepreneurship Danish Business Authority - OECD LEED Programme Copenhagen, November 28th 2012 Sergio Destefanis destefanis@unisa.it (Università di Salerno and CSEF, Italy)Local levels of skills and local initiatives to promote skills development in Italy’s small businesses
  2. 2. Outline of the presentation- Italys structural situation (Dualism, Decline, size)- Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy- Some new evidence from 2 OECD-LEED projects Skills for Competitiveness: the diagnostic tool Local Job Creation: a dashboard- Problems and Best Practices- Emerging policy issues
  3. 3. Italys structure:the well-known dualism influences skills demand; these are the hi-tech local districts
  4. 4. Italys structure: the DeclineGDP per hour worked, selected European countries: 1997-2010 (average annual rate of change) 3 ,5 3 2 ,5 2 1 ,5 1 0 ,5 0 ly a in d ce ia d en a rk y um s la n la n It a s tr an m nd an ed Sp lg i do nm Ir e F in Au rm rla Fr Sw Be ng De Ge th e Ki Ne d it e Un
  5. 5. Italys structure: growing share of temporary workers
  6. 6. Italys structure: High share of (very) small firms, of self-employment % e m p lo y m e n t in fir m s < 2 0 e m p lo y e e s in m a jo r E u r o p e a n c o u n tr ie s UK IT A FRA G ER DNK m a n u fa c tu rin g 8 ,3 3 0 ,3 17 1 1 ,3 1 6 ,1 b u sin e s s s e rv ic e s -- 4 6 ,3 1 2 ,1 3 3 ,8 3 3 ,4 S o u r c e : B a r te ls m a n n e t a l. (O E C D E D w p 3 4 8 , 2 0 0 3 ) V a lu e -a d d e d , w o r k e r s a n d n . o f c o m p a n ie s in m a jo r E u r o p e a n c o u n tr ie s -Y e a r 2 0 0 4 (p e r c e n ta g e UK IT A FRA GER SPA N . F ir m s 1 3 ,1 3 2 ,1 1 9 ,1 1 4 ,6 2 1 ,1 N . E m p lo y e e s 2 2 ,4 1 8 ,2 1 7 ,7 2 5 ,7 16 VA 2 5 ,5 15 19 2 8 ,3 1 2 ,1 S e lf-e m p lo y e d in m a jo r E u r o p e a n c o u n tr ie s - Y e a r 2 0 0 4 (p e r c e n ta g e s ) U K IT A FR A G ER SPA m a n u fa c tu rin g 3 ,4 1 6 ,6 2 ,2 2 ,2 5 ,5 b u sin e s s s e rv ic e s 1 0 ,8 4 3 ,8 4 1 3 ,9 1 9 ,3 T o ta l 7 ,6 3 3 ,2 5 ,1 8 ,3 1 7 ,4 S o u r c e : I s ta t e la b o r a tio n s o n E u r o s ta t S tr u c tu r a l B u s in e s s S ta tis tic s
  7. 7. Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy (1)National and, especially, regional policy makers have onlyrecently begun to focus on skills in Italy, with varying degrees ofsuccess.Resources and attention are devoted to developing skills supply(training) and demand (R&D, innovation), rather than promotinga supply-demand balance. Indeed, the 2010 Labour Plan fromthe Ministry of Labour announced that Italy, more than othercountries, presents a marked mismatch between labour demandand supply. Then went on blaming the “total inadequacy of thetraining system” for this state of affairs above anything else.The lack of a robust socio-economic infrastructure able to bringtogether workers and firms is also evoked but is seen as a lowercontributing factor.
  8. 8. Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy (2)Ederer (2006): Human Capital Endowment is strongly determined by on- the-job and adult learning, both are relatively low in Italy
  9. 9. Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy (3) skills supply (vocational training):strong territorial differentiation in the workings of training levies
  10. 10. Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy (3)skills supply (apprenticeship training): similar territorial differentiation
  11. 11. Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy (4)Skills demand (R&D, innovation)Aid focuses on small firms, less developed regions (?), environment-related investments, R&D activities, applied research.There are good funding opportunities for research commissioned toprivate and public entities, initiatives to promote the temporary in-house assignment of researchers and technicians, acquisition ofpatents.Yet, the available evidence (Gabriele et al., 2006; Brancati, 2010;Martini & Trivellato, 2011) suggests that this kind of aid has nopositive impact on profitability, technical change or productivity. Thelack of effective selection procedures has often been blamed for thisoutcome.
  12. 12. Mapping the skills policy framework in Italy (5) Supply-demand balance & skills matching (PES):relatively few resources are devoted to them in Italy.
  13. 13. The OECD-LEED ProjectsSkills for Competitiveness &Local Job Creation:for methodology and other features, please refer to:http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/oeccfeaaa/2012_2f9-en.htmhttp://econpapers.repec.org/paper/oeccfeaaa/2012_2f4-en.htmhttp://econpapers.repec.org/paper/oeccfeaaa/2012_2f17-en.htm
  14. 14. Sk for C: the “OECD diagnostic tool”Multinomial Logit evidence for Italian provinces (TL3), years 2001 and 2009. What determines a provinces location in a given quadrant? SKILL SHORTAGE: HIGH-SKILL EQ.: Strong 2-ary sector Strong 3-ary sector Large population Large population “Attractive University” Lower share of temps LOW-SKILL EQ.: baseline SKILL SURPLUS: “Attractive University”
  15. 15. Sk for C: taking stock of problemsThere is still relatively little awareness about skills utilisation in Italy. The growth of temporary work did not improve this state of affairs.Firms small size makes R&D + innovation, policy, and inter-firm, co-ordination, diffusion of information, more difficult. The famed distretti did not solve these problems.Skills policy ineffectiveness is enhanced by lack of effective selection procedures in aid provision, and by lengthiness of bureaucratic procedures.
  16. 16. LJC: taking stock of problemsThe Agenzia del Lavoro from Trento is doing fine, but- more needs to be done about skills utilisation (even in this rich and relatively dynamic area, virtually nobody cares about high-performance work practices).- Better communication and co-ordination among public entities, ex-post evaluation and forward planning of policies, should be put in place.
  17. 17. Best practices #1The Distretto Calzaturiero del Brenta.A long-standing reality, characterised by ACRIB (a local employers association) and by Politecnico Calzaturiero (a very important private school of arts and crafts).Highly successful product innovation, enacted by a network of fairly small firms.it tied firms from the provinces of Venezia and Padova in one single organisation, opened the way for co-operative mechanisms uniting employers and workers, and for the establishment of an innovative Territorial Council (Consulta Territoriale).
  18. 18. Best practices #2The 2011 Development Pact (Patto per lo Sviluppo...) from Treviso province.This is a young reality, also exemplifying what is happening in other areas (especially in Italys North-east).It is characterised by territorial joint (NOT firm-level) wage bargaining and from a co-operative employers-worker approach to employment and development.
  19. 19. Best practices #3The Borsino delle professioni (Stock Exchange of Occupations).Employment agencies in Veneto and Trentos province provide a dynamic tool following the evolution of the labour market, facilitating supply - demand matching and simplifying bureaucratic procedures.Firms and potential workers lodge on-line their job vacancies and CVs. The Borsino offers monthly information on local labor market trends and developments detailed by occupational profile.In the near future the agencies are planning to use this service to assist career choice and job-search guidance.
  20. 20. Best practices #4Dual ApprenticeshipA dual system of apprenticeship combines workplace practice with vocational education in training schools. It exists in several countries, notably Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Apprentices are trained in a company 3-5 days a week. The other part of the dual system involves off- the-job education at a vocational school.This system appears to have worked well across European countries. Interestingly, a similar system is enacted in Trentos neighbouring province, Bolzano, possibily being one contributing factor to its current low rates of youth unemployment.A potential disadvantage of starting dual training too early is that young people may fail to pick up the generic transferable skills which will help them in being mobile later in their careers. Support for employment progression from Labour Agency should also be provided.
  21. 21. Emerging policy issues (1)In Italy, successful traing and higher skills utilisation needs co-operative worker-employer approach with strong role of local employers associations. A current reform of industrial relations is going somehow in this direction.More decentralisation could help in achieving a closer relationship between local public authorities and local development. However, if social capital is scarce, giving a freer rein to local public authorities may be conducive to more rent-seeking rather than to more proactive behaviour. North-South divide???
  22. 22. Emerging policy issues (2)The public sector can in any case fulfil an important role in providing more information at a territorially disaggregated level. There is in Italy a lack of local data on skills supply and demand of skills. The Borsino IS very useful.Reconciliation of a more flexible and decentralised public sector with some control over rent-seeking practices could be attempted by finding a new and stronger role for public employment service at the local level. The current reform of labour-market policies MAY be useful (introducing much more pervasive unemployment insurance and making job centres responsible for it).