The analysis was commissioned by the European Social Fund Agency in the framework of the Interreg Europe-funded project “Capacity Building of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Preparation for Industry 4.0 (4.0 Ready)”.
The results of the analysis were presented on June 30th to the representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania, vocational training, business, science and innovation organizations.
The aim of this analysis is to determine what competencies will be needed by SME employees working in the main Lithuanian industrial sectors (food, chemical, furniture, wood, machinery and equipment) over the next ten years to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0. At the same time, the aim was to find out the possible directions of movement of employees in the labour market, the essential need for future competencies according to the professional qualifications of employees, to evaluate retraining measures in Lithuania. The demand forecast for the main occupations of the Lithuanian industrial sectors (according to the Lithuanian Classification of Occupations) until 2030 was also made.
The results of the analysis will be used to develop a regional action plan with suggestions on how to improve EU funding instruments that can help SME prepare for Industry 4.0.
The analysis showed that continuous skills development, qualification improvement and retraining of employees will become one of the key challenges in the Lithuanian manufacturing sector during the Industry 4.0 revolution. This revolution will affect the movement of labour in all sectors of the manufacturing industry: some workers will lose their jobs, some will have to change or supplement their functions, and completely new professions will emerge, mainly related to the development and maintenance of new technologies.
The analysis found that so far only a very small proportion of employees (5%) could be completely replaced by robots and automated solutions, a much larger proportion of employees (60%) could be partially automated or complemented by innovative solutions. Technology will allow the manufacturing sector to move to a white-collar work. Fewer and fewer people will work in physical jobs and will not have to perform production tasks themselves, but only to supervise production processes, analyse data, ensure optimization of production processes, supervise cybersecurity of production. Technicians and operators who previously worked with and operated the equipment themselves will take over the work of engineers in the future and engineers will not only develop products or organize production processes but will also have to engage in communication with customers.
Due to Industry 4.0, in the next decade, all industrial sectors will reduce the need for workers to perform routine physical activities that are most easily automated. Demand for workers performing routine cognitive activities will fall by more than half. The need for employees who perform non-routine cognitive activities will not decrease or decrease insignificantly because the activities they perform cannot be or are difficult to automate or digitize. The need for workers performing non-routine physical activities will remain slightly lower than for workers performing non-routine cognitive activities.
The analysis identifies key competencies related to Industry 4.0 that will be relevant to all industrial sectors over the next decade, namely technical skills (especially relevant to low- and medium-skilled workers), the most important of which are:
- the knowledge / holistic understanding of the production process and procedures required for the performance of the process, as well as systematic knowledge, understanding and perception
- data and IT skills (especially relevant to medium- and high-skilled workers), the most important of which are data evaluation and analysis skills and security and protection skills in the handling of sensitive data
- social skills (especially relevant to medium- and high-skilled workers), the most important of which are cooperation, interpersonal, team and collaboration skills and communication competencies
- personal skills that are relevant to all employees at the professional qualification level, i. e. continuous, independent learning/desire for lifelong learning, analytical thinking skills, interdisciplinary thinking, performance and problem-solving.