Foro de Empleo de OBS Business School

OBS Report: Employability in 2024

Informes |

75% of Spanish companies have a shortage of qualified talent

Portada Informe Empleabilidad 2024


  • Only 37% of adults receive regular training.
  • The inability to pass on personal experience explains why many highly qualified young people are unemployed.
  • The employability of students in private universities is almost 10% higher than in public universities.
  • The silver economy will generate 90 million jobs by 2025. Other employment hotspots are AI regulation and security and environmental challenges.

April 2024. OBS Business School publishes the Employability Report 2024, directed by Josep Ginesta, professor at the school and general secretary of PIMEC. It analyses the state of the relationship between training and employability and the two elements that generate qualitative employability: higher vocational training, which helps to connect supply and demand, and the attitude of people when it comes to externalising this knowledge.

There are several reasons for the social and economic changes taking place that are leading to job losses: technology and digitalisation, environmental challenges and the energy transition under the green agenda, changing demographics and the ageing of developed economies, as well as cultural and consumer changes. However, these changes will also lead to the emergence of new jobs.

AI is already used for the automation of simple processes and decisions. However, 25% of companies have not yet promoted its use due to a lack of clarity about its legal consequences and legal certainty. This will be progressively resolved both in the European Union and in most developed countries, which will undoubtedly be a source of job creation to ensure regulatory compliance, control of AI use and security. On the other hand, the ageing of the population in the most developed economies is leading to new needs and consumption patterns. The so-called silver economy, i.e. the consumption of products and services by people over 55, is booming and will continue to grow to generate 90 million jobs by 2025 in the EU alone, 38% of total employment accounting for 32% of GDP. This will require an appropriate response in public policies, services and products, and training in health, nutrition, new technologies and usability, care, assisted mobility, cosmetics, security, fashion, leisure and tourism, and household goods, among many other areas.

All these changes are already leading to a new consumption ethic, and the labour market will progress accordingly. For example, e-commerce, which will continue to grow for some years to come, will be tempered by the green transition as demand increases for more sustainable and energising proximity and zero-kilometre products, and 15-minute cities and environments will shape urban development planning. Subscription or pay-per-use of products and services as a more sustainable model, environmental and emotional wellbeing, physical activity and healthy lifestyle habits are some of the areas that will progress in the coming years and in which the best professionals will have to appear.

Home working and flexible employment is a growing demand that will be necessary to retain talent, and will involve more intensive work spaces in our homes and new technological solutions for the improvement of work processes in asynchronous space and/or time. All these trends are already creating vacancies and difficulties in most countries to keep up with the speed of progress.

We are suffering from a talent deficit

A talent deficit has been detected in 75% of companies in Spain, with difficulties in filling it in 82% of cases, especially in qualified profiles. According to the report, employability is considered qualitative when a person overcomes the challenge of finding a job or improves on the one he or she has, and also has the capacity to stay in it and grow professionally in the long term. To achieve qualitative employability it is vital to complement knowledge and skills (theory) with abilities (praxis or practice) and certain personal and professional attitudes, both intrapersonal (effort, commitment, entrepreneurship, etc.) and extrapersonal or relational (social competences such as empathy, cooperation, leadership, positivity or teamwork). Flexibility and constant learning are extremely important today, but also the ability to externalise one's professional and personal history. Often, non-professional activities reveal key information in a selection process. For this reason, creativity when it comes to externalising competences can resolve a career path that at first sight may appear to be lacking. An individual's initiative, orientation towards innovation, capacity for entrepreneurship or conflict resolution, or ethical-social commitment are elements that can characterise someone who wants to grow cooperatively and who is oriented towards the achievements of an organisation. "The inability to transmit these experiences explains the paradox of our labour market, in which many highly qualified young people are unemployed", says Josep Ginesta, lecturer at OBS Business School and secretary general of PIMEC.

In the EU, 77% of companies find it difficult to find workers with the necessary skills, but at the same time only 37% of adults receive regular training. For this reason, different initiatives have been developed for 2023 aimed at improving the training and professionalisation of human capital, such as the micro-credentials for certifying the results of short-term learning experiences, which offer a flexible and personalised way of acquiring skills, knowledge and competences for personal and professional development. These micro-credentials have a multinational vocation, so that they work across institutions, businesses and sectors across borders, because to remain globally competitive, the European Union will need millions of professionals of all ages to meet new demands and opportunities. "We need to make the EU more attractive to talent from all over the world," says Josep Ginesta, because until a few years ago, only one in four highly educated migrants living in the OECD had chosen an EU country as their destination.

Professional training increases university students' employability

Employability in Spain is highest among those with specialisation or Master's degrees, and also among those studying at private universities and in technical fields, according to the latest data. Those in employment account for 88% of Bachelor's and Master's or PhD graduates one or two years after graduation, and rises to 91% in the three to four years after graduation. At a territorial level, while 91.9% or 90.8% of students at universities in La Rioja or Catalonia are working one year after completing their studies, 78.3% and 81.4% of those at universities in Andalusia or Castile-La Mancha are working.

The salary of Master's graduates from Spanish public universities is €24,640 per year after the first year and 42.3% have a permanent contract. In private universities, this salary amounts to €29,601 and 50.4% have a permanent contract. These differences are due to the greater flexibility and speed of adaptation of training programmes that private universities may have compared to public universities. However, some experts also point to social differences.

Content written by:
Carmen García-Trevijano
OBS Business School Press Office