The National Union of Employers is seeking proposals for a research project aimed at understanding why adult workers are reluctant to build new skills and change jobs, despite the high likelihood of transition before retirement. The project will focus on vulnerable jobs and sectors impacted by COVID-19, with a special emphasis on women in the banking sector and HORECA. The project objective is to identify barriers and triggers of lifelong learning and develop human-centered solutions. The project includes survey data collection and desk research, and deliverables include a work plan, evidence gathered through the survey, an overview report on institutional frameworks, and an executive summary with recommendations. Relevant methodology proposals are encouraged. Concordia will manage communication between the selected data collection entity and member organizations.
Digital transformation is one of the building blocks of ”an economy that works for the people” priority, as stated in the European Commission’s “Political Guidelines – A Union that Strives for More”, together with a strong social dialogue between employers and trade unions and empowering people through education and skills. This transformation is expected to bring exponential changes in the society as a whole and in the world of work, thus requiring the two other factors to be put at work to ensure that these changes will generate positive outcomes for the people.
While it was already expected that the digital economy will have an important impact on job opportunities, both in terms of creating new jobs and triggering the disappearance of some of the existing ones, the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated some of the digital trends. With the view to keep up with the pace of change, the Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights sets two ambitious targets, also endorsed by the subsequent Porto Summit Declaration:
Moreover, the Recovery Plan for Europe includes reskilling and upskilling as one of the flagship areas for investment and reforms, while the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021 makes it clear that developing digital skills at all levels is a condition to ensure that all Europeans can participate in society and take advantage of the digital transitions. This will require reforms in the area of basic and higher education, skills development and lifelong learning to support labour market transition.
In this context, social dialogue remains a prerequisite for a well-functioning social market economy.
Romania and Slovakia are two countries that face multiple challenges in relation to the targets set ahead for employment and training, with an added complexity emerging from the pandemics: low level of adult participation in training (current rates are below 5%), low level of digital skills, an educational system unadjusted to the labour market dynamics, and social partners that have a weak capacity to respond to these challenges. As COVID-19 accelerated automation and digitalization, many workers will find themselves jobless or in positions for which they do not hold the suitable set of skills, while the social partners are not well equipped to provide an effective response in a timely manner. A lack of fast paced action also raises the risk of generating trouble with employment overall, exacerbating the supply and demand qualitative gap as new jobs are created and new skills will be in higher demand.
A non-responsive educational system is the main cause for this lagging behind, according to the European Semester Country Reports, recommending structural reforms at various levels. Apart from being unresponsive to changes in the labour market, educational institutions are also difficult to navigate for
building a skills pathway, with no direct contact to the beneficiaries, leaving both employees and employers to cope with the changes on their own.
Our project – “Challenges from the pandemics: adult learning in Romania and Slovakia” (AdultLearningROSK), aims to equip social partners from Romania and Slovakia to further address the changing skills demand spawn by the transformation and digitalization of work, with tools to further improve adult learning participation, skills acquisition, and capacity building for social partners in line with the EU priorities, contributing to the promotion of social dialogue at cross-industry level, and further developing European social dialogue.
There are three guiding principles for this project:
• A human-centered approach to LLL – understand what are the barriers and triggers for workers in relation to the topic
• A systemic understanding of the adult learning frameworks with the view to maximize the impact of the intervention
• Learn from what has been done already in other countries
This project is intended to serve as a springboard for future reforms in relation to LLL in both Romania and Slovakia, and its deliverables will serve for future advocacy measures and collective bargaining between social partners, which will have enough knowledge and tools to negotiate and provide workable solutions to respond to challenges that currently hamper adult learning participation and future skills (including digital) acquisition.
The specific objectives we aim to achieve with this project are:
It aims to provide general tech and digital skills with a cross-sectoral impact, complemented by other cognitive skills, based on the assessment. This approach aims to provide best practice across the two countries and abroad for how universities could adjust to labour market realities and will make use of the European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens.
The research is commissioned by The National Union of Employers to reveal why adult workers are rather reluctant to build new skills and to change jobs, despite all forecasts showing a high likelihood of changing it before retirement. This analysis will focus on those jobs that are more vulnerable to transition and sectors that are most impacted by COVID-19, and will include a special emphasis on women as a target group more affected by the pandemic: banking sector and HORECA.
The specific project objective we are targeting is to ensure a better understanding of the barriers and triggers of employees in relation to lifelong learning in order to further develop human-centered solutions.
Sufficient, accurate and relevant data to fulfill the stated project objective shall be collected to:
The results of the employees survey will remain a reference point in the medium term for designing human-centered solutions for adult upskilling.
b) Desk research
A desk research shall be conducted to:
• Map the national institutional lifelong learning frameworks in Slovakia and related policies/programs
Methodology: we encourage candidates to propose a relevant methodology line with the research scope.
NUE will ensure the communication management between the data collection entity selected for the study and the representatives of member organizations.
Important note: The reports should have no more than 30 pages each. The report on employees triggers and barriers in relation to LLL should include, but is not limited to: hypothesis and limitations, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions, recommendations, data visualizations. The design of the reports shall be included in the budget and must be in compliance with the projects design manual (avaiable for download). The final design shall be delivered PDF ready for print and in an editable version including editable graphs and infographics ready for translation.
Interested candidates must send the following application documents by e-mail:
In selecting the offer, the following criteria will be taken into consideration:
• Relevant experience in research activities and data gathering connected to the topic
• Relevant capacity to manage the research and achieve the objectives
• The proposal reflects the scope of the project and research
• Proficiency in English.
Total Budget: the maximum budget invoiced may not exceed the total of 9.100,00 Euro (all taxes included).
Deadline for submission of offers: Applications must be submitted by e-mail to the address firstname.lastname@example.org no later than March 7, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. (CET).
Inquiries for clarification shall be submitted no to the address email@example.com no later than March 3, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. (CET).
Deadline for signing the contract: March 15, 2023
Deadline for submitting the data collected/evidence gathered: no later than April 15, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. (CET).
Deadline for submitting pre-final deliverables for review: no later than April 25, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. (CET
Deadline for submitting final deliverables: no later than April 27, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. (CET).