There are both strong and weak points in the economy of Cyprus but what is alarming is the high degree of skills mismatch in the workforce, according to the island’s Economy and Competitiveness Council.
Skills mismatch in Cyprus, defined as the gap between an individual’s job skills and the demands of the job market, is the highest compared to 12 other countries in the Council’s first-ever report which was released recently.
The analysis was based on more than 150 indicators and on benchmarking Cyprus’ competitiveness performance over time and against 12 countries — Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, the UK, and Israel, as the only non-EU country.
The report points to gaps and shortages in some key areas, notably for more technical and specialised skills, especially those associated with new and emerging non-traditional sectors and economic activities. At the same time, the report points to an apparent over-qualification of workers.
This is a point constantly made in European Commission reports as well, with the recommendation that the island’s overall education system demands urgent reform.
The Council’s report points to a particular mismatch between qualifications and work in areas such as Education, Health, Humanities and Technology. It also refers to a low interest in science studies by young people in Cyprus, resulting in high-tech applications lagging behind.
All in all, the Council does recognise a number of areas in which reforms and policies are already implemented and contribute towards the economy’s competitiveness.
However, the absence of a high-level strategy and the articulation of a longer-term vision for Cyprus’ economic development is a major shortcoming, according to the report.
Nonetheless, the Council believe there is a good level of institutional and regulatory framework as well as market conditions in Cyprus. And that after three years of strong growth, the island’s economy in 2019 recorded one of the strongest growth rates within the Eurozone.
What contributed enormously towards this strong growth rate is the island’s geographical position and the fact that it is a member of the EU with strong relations with countries of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.