Spain is at the bottom of Europe in the development of human capital, that is to say the training and productivity of its workers, according to a study by the World Economic Forum. Only Greece, Moldova and Serbia appear less well. Eastern countries like Romania or the Baltic countries appear above. Also China and Russia. The reasons for this delay? Low participation in work, unemployment, underemployment, the education system, poor in-company training, poor reception of VET and, to a lesser extent, the low proportion of skilled jobs that exist.
“Too many countries, especially in developing economies, are still pursuing paths towards creating economic value based exclusively on cheap employment, i.e. […] focusing only on employment without worrying about diversifying skills or acquiring more advanced professional knowledge”, concludes the 2017 report of the World Economic Forum on the development of human capital, or what amounts to the same thing: diploma training , productivity and utilization of available workers.
According to the conclusions of this document, it must be taken into account that the fourth industrial revolution “carries a very real possibility of interrupting this form of economic development”. Moreover, even in advanced countries where strong specialization is developing, “there is a risk that these trends leave behind an ever-increasing share of the working population”.
And where is Spain in this picture drawn up by the World Economic Forum? Well, not very well according to the classification. Spain remains in this ranking, which measures the good development and use of human capital – and therefore talent – in 44th place out of 130, in theory well below its weight. Countries like the Baltic countries, Kazakhstan, Thailand, China, Romania, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary or Bulgaria overtake Spain. It should be remembered that precisely the World Economic Forum had designated Spain in another report as the most competitive country in the world in the tourism sector.
The human capital study scores from zero to one hundred a series of indicators such as literacy, level of education received, participation in work, unemployment, underemployment, quality of education and regulated training in companies or the proportion of skilled jobs, among others. The report considers a score of 70 to be a high degree of development. Western Europe’s average is just 71. And Spain has a 65, moving them away from the top group dominated by the Nordics, Switzerland, USA and Germany.
Spain scores high in literacy and primary and secondary education. But it ranks very poorly in obtaining higher education diplomas, with marks below 20 points out of 100 in all age groups (even if the enrollment rate for young people in university is already high ). It also presents a clear failure due to the low participation of the population in the active population, a problem which it also shares, for example, with France or Italy. And, of course, Spain also loses many points because of the very high unemployment rates it has. In youth unemployment, it ranks 124th out of 130 countries.
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It is also poorly represented due to the high degree of underemployment, in this case employees who work fewer hours than they would like. The quality of the education system only scores 46 out of 100. And the training of personnel in companies receives an even worse rating: 44. The document also points to the low proportion of young people who enroll in vocational training or FP.
Another chapter in which Spain receives a low score is the low percentage of skilled jobs. There it only gets 33 out of 100, although it climbs to 39th position in the rankings because it is a widespread problem in many countries. On the other hand, it reaches 87 points due to the high proportion of work with an average education. Regarding the availability of skilled workers, the score only reaches 60 but reaches position 36 in the ranking.
Despite the fact that there is a direct relationship between wealth and human capital, Eastern European countries demonstrate that levels above what corresponds to their income can be achieved. Regarding Europe, the report highlights the problems that exist, even in the most advanced countries, to employ young people and make a larger part of the population work.