4.3.1. Labour resources
The Basque Country ranks low in human resources employed in science and technology in comparison with the comparable regions
We thus begin with an analysis of labour resources (its status and change compared to the previous year are set out in Table 24, with variation shown in Graph 19). In human resources employed in science and technology, the Basque Country is in a strong position in comparison with the autonomous communities and cities, intermediate when compared with the European regions as a whole, and a low position compared to the comparable regions. In recent years, the values for this indicator have been improving, but this is also true of other territories. The Basque Country has ranked below the average for Europe and the comparable regions since 2011, and is some distance from Germany.
The Basque Country’s weaker position in terms of training and education level for the population aged 25–64 is explained by lower levels among the highest age bands and a smaller percentage of the population with mid-level studies
When we consider the entire population between the ages of 25 and 64, we find that after the customary age for formal education is reached, the education leve fluctuates very little from one year to the next, increasing slightly because the younger generation joining the cohort have more education than the elderly people leaving it. Given that the highest age bands have the worst level of education (compared to other European regions, and especially the comparable regions, due to the low percentage of upper secondary education), this is one of the business environment indicators in which the Basque Country has the weakest position, in comparison with both the European regions and the comparable regions, although it ranks very well within Spain. Apart from the generational issue, this is due to the fact that the percentage of the population with med-level studies (upper secondary) is low, unlike countries such as Germany, where they constitute a very significant portion of the population. Inadequacies in the highest age bands are offset by the education levels of younger people in terms of tertiary education (although less so in upper secondary education). Thus, the Basque Country continues to rank high in the three groups considered, and above all among the territories considered in the trend graph and indicator for students in tertiary education.
Strong performance in tertiary education is offset by high levels of overqualification and high youth unemployment rates, including among those with tertiary education
Strong performance in terms of the population that has completed tertiary education is offset by the overqualification index, which has been defined as the ratio between the population with tertiary education and the population employed in the most skilled occupations (directors and managers, science and intellectual professionals, and mid-level engineers and professionals). This is without a doubt the indicator in which the Basque Country has the weakest position, with the highest overqualification indices at the European level. This is an indication that, despite efforts being made in the area of education and training, the region is not generating enough jobs that require those levels of qualifications. For example, this is in line with the high youth unemployment rates, including those with tertiary education, and is closely related to the challenge around skills discussed in this year’s topic report.
Turning our gaze to another student enrolment indicator, the Basque Country’s position in terms of vocational education and training is a little weaker than in tertiary education (except in comparison with the autonomous communities and cities), but it made gains in the last year. The trend graph shows that this change in the ranking is linked to an increase in the value for the indicator, which offsets the drop in the previous year. It is worth noting that the indicator remains higher than that of all the others considered, and quite a bit higher than the German average, a benchmark country in terms of vocational education and training.
As regards to the population engaged in continuing education, which is necessary to continue acquiring skills, in the case of the Basque Country, we are seeing a more volatile annual change than in other territories, alternating between increases and decreases. In the last year, the value of the indicator fell, and this caused it to drop a few positions in the rankings, although it is still in a strong position among European regions as a whole and in the middle within the group of comparable regions.
The jump seen in Graph 19 in 2013 for comparable regions is due to a change in methodology in how this variable is calculated in the French regions, many of which are part of the benchmark group.