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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Steelmaking is a key industrial sector in Europe, but it is changing at a fast pace. Both domestic and global competition is fierce and new skills are in demand. The EU cannot and does not intend to compete on cheap labour and low social standards. Rather than engaging in a price war with other steel-producing economies, the EU intends to become a leader in innovative and high-quality products and stay ahead of the technological curve by investing in new processes and technologies. For this, new investments – also in the workforce – are needed.

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Boosting the competitiveness of the European steelmaking workforce

Several key actions are required to build and foster a competitive European steelmaking workforce characterised by innovation, quality and technology. They include

  • bridging the gap between the needs of the steelmaking industry and the availability of a qualified workforce
  • raising awareness about steelmaking job opportunities
  • removing misperceptions and tackling negative aspects around steelmaking jobs

Steel sector careers: More opportunities than you can imagine

'Steel sector careers: More opportunities than you can imagine' is part of a communication and awareness raising campaign under the Commission's 'Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills: Towards an EU strategy addressing the skills needs of the steel sector'.

Launched in 2019, it aims to counter the misperceptions that heavily influence the image of the steel sector by

  • overcoming the prevalent opinions and negative perceptions
  • enabling high-skilled workers to understand the positive aspects of steel sector careers
  • enhancing visibility and upscaling the use of existing tools and initiatives for job mobility and steel sector skills development
  • facilitating and fostering skills development in the steel sector, but also showing the level of skills required by the steel sector to attract graduates
  • helping companies in the steel sector to overcome gaps, shortages and mismatches between skills supply and demand
Steel sector careers info video

Final study: European vision on steel-related skills of today and tomorrow

The final study 'European vision on steel-related skills and supporting actions to solve the skills gap today and tomorrow in Europe' focuses on the key priority actions in the Commission's blueprint for sectoral cooperation in the steel sector. It presents up-to-date information on current and future skills needs in the steel sector, causes of skills mismatches and gaps, the image of steel careers, and existing policies and initiatives to promote skills development or enhance the attractiveness of the steel sector. This includes the state-of-play of different national vocational education and training (VET) systems. The study provides a series of recommendations for a broad range of stakeholders to address the skills needs of the European steel industry and to improve the image of the sector. It is complemented by seven country profiles (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain) and two implementation roadmaps for building the EU steel industry’s necessary skills and improving its education and training offer.

Key findings

Steelmaking industry in Europe

  • 1.3% of EU’s GDP
  • €123 billion turnover
  • Creates €128 billion of gross added value in EU and plays an essential role in several industrial value chains, including green technologies
  • Supports 2.5 million jobs (327,000 direct jobs, 1.5 million indirect jobs, 677,000 induced jobs)
  • Automotive, construction, mechanical engineering, tubes and pipes, and domestic appliances are among the most important steel-using sectors
  • EU is the second largest steel producer in the world after China (total output 168 million tonnes or 10% of total production)

10 common misconceptions about the steelmaking industry

  • Polluting, unhealthy and energy-intensive activity
  • Work is manual/physical
  • High risk of work accidents
  • Unreliable employer
  • Concerns for future job security
  • Steady job provider for low-skilled labour
  • Unattractive career choice
  • Low salary
  • Steel plants are dirty, high-temperature work environments
  • Unsuitable for women

The most in demand jobs in the steel sector

Metallurgical engineers Data governance specialists
R&D engineers Data analysts
Application engineers Application managers
Energy engineers Quality technicians
Maintenance engineers and technicians Welders
Automation engineers Structural steel technicians
Process engineers Process operators
Design engineers Furnace and mill operators
Production managers Metallurgists
IT developers Machinists
Electricians Mechanics

Want to know more about these top jobs?
ESCO provides detailed descriptions of jobs. You can also find out what skills and qualifications are needed for these.

Looking for a job in the steel sector?
EURES, the European job mobility portal, is your one-stop shop for the job market. Check out the jobseekers section to search for steel vacancies anywhere in Europe. You can even upload your CV so employers can find you. Available in 26 European languages.

Communication materials