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Next wave of jobs in Europe require broader innovation skills, Cefic study says


24 Nov 2010

New report from 1.2 million-worker chemicals sector engages EU2020 jobs and skills agenda

BRUSSELS, November 24, 2010 – Europe’s future engineers and scientists will need a more broad-based education in order to speed up future innovations in the
chemical industry and remain competitive in a global market, according to results of
the first-ever, sector-led skills needs study released today by Cefic.

The recommendation for a more well-rounded chemical sector workforce, which
includes chemists and chemical engineers, is based on feedback from 16 corporate
managers from the industry in Europe whose companies employ 300,000 workers –
one-fourth of total EU chemical industry employment. It is a conclusion of the study
titled “Skills for Innovation in the European Chemical Industry.”

“Scientists and engineers must have a scientific, multidisciplinary background, so
that they can understand one another and develop better together innovative
solutions,” said Gernot Klotz, head of research and innovation programmes at Cefic.
“But it doesn’t stop there. Getting this solution to market requires an additional set of

“Technical educational programmes should put greater focus on financial and
business skills, as well as provide better balance between theory and practical
training and cultural skills.”

The new skills needs are important because future workers who acquire different
technical, business and personal skills will adapt more easily to new tasks, job
functions or even different scientific areas.

The industry study is being released at a time when EU policymakers yesterday put
forth an agenda for new skills and jobs designed to upgrade worker skills, reform
labour markets, improve worker mobility and create jobs across Europe. The agenda
also looks to equip people with the right skills and matching the skills supply with the
labour market.

Klotz added. “The chemical industry forms the roots of the innovation tree, so its
workforce must have a mindset and skills needed to help speed up the delivery of

“The chemical industry is ready to work with educational bodies to bring these
recommendations ultimately into the classroom.”

To see the summary report of the study, go to the Cefic Web site at,
or contact James Pieper, Cefic media relations +32 (0)2 676 7398 or at

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Chemicals industry innovation requires well-rounded scientists and engineers…add one

Notes to editors:

About Cefic

Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, is the Brussels-based organisation that represents the European chemicals industry. Created in 1972, it represents 29,000 companies that produce about a quarter of the world’s chemicals and employs around 1.2 million people. To learn more about Cefic, visit our Web site at

About the study

The study aims to address three recommendations made in the area of human resources from the final report of the July 2009 European Commission’s High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the European Chemical Industry.

Cefic initiated the study in September 2009 to find out from a significant part of Europe’s €449 billion chemical industry the most critical skills necessary for scientists and engineers to make innovation more robust. The views come from structured telephone interviews with a group of 16-high level chemical industry representatives from 12 companies representing a total workforce of 300,000 – one-fourth of total European chemical industry employment. Survey participants were chosen for their involvement in the long-term strategy of their respective companies.

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