Employment in the electricity industry shows an increasing trend towards older workers. This demographic development has the potential to significantly impact the on electricity Industry in Europe from a labour and skills perspective. There has already been a considerable amount of statistical data produced regarding this issue and some utilities have already put plans in place to enhance skills retention and attract younger workers into the workforce. Nevertheless, there is a need to assist companies and trade unions in meeting this challenge by providing practical tools and guidelines.
In 2007 the European social partners: EURELECTRIC, EMCEF and EPSU decided to consider the implications of ongoing demographic changes on the electricity industry and have launched a project in the framework of the social dialogue committee.
Demographic change brings with it a wide range of issues. There is an obvious skills impact associated with the large number of skilled workers in the industry reaching retirement age. Labour and skills shortages may make it difficult to source new workers for the industry. In addition, the loss of key skills may require new ways of ensuring knowledge/skills retention and transfer. Workplace design may also need attention and adaptation to an older workforce. All stages of the employee life-cycle require examination to assess the impact of the ongoing demographic changes.
The project on demographic change in the electricity industry has focused on the employment life-cycle, from recruitment through employment to retirement. This toolkit presents best practices from company case studies, which can be used by employees, trade unions and workers’ and employer’s representatives in the electricity industry to address issues arising from demographic change.
The Toolkit / Best Practices guide is not intended to be a theoretical, academic study, but an easy to use, practical guide which can be circulated widely and also featured on web sites. It will be useful for human resource and line managers and trade union officials working in the electricity sector, who have a responsibility for drawing up policies and procedures and monitoring progress in this area.
The European social partners want to see the toolkit used as a basis for addressing demographic change by providing practical suggestions on how to improve existing situations based on the experience of a wide range of Europe ’s electricity companies.
EURELECTRIC, EMCEF and EPSU would like to thank all company and trade union representatives who contributed to this study, developed the case studies, provided useful information and fed valuable ideas into the Toolkit.
This project was made possible through the funding by the European Commission – DG Employment, Social affairs and Equal Opportunities.