EU Commission: Skills for Jobs in the EU Textile and Clothing Industry to Evolve

In a recent analysis report, the EU Commission foresees that skills needed by jobs in the EU textile and clothing industry will continue to evolve from 2013 to 2025. Specifically, the report argues that:

First, employment in the EU textile and clothing sector is forecast to decline by 13.4% from 2.5 million in 2013 to 2.1million in 2025. Even with shrinking employment levels, because of the need to replace nearly 1 million workers forecast to retire or leave the sector, about 611,000 job openings are anticipated from 2013 to 2025.

Second, employment in the EU textile and clothing sector is no just declined, but also evolved. From 2013 to 2025, demand for “crafted and related occupations” as well as “plant and machine operators and assemblers” will decline 34% and 13% respectively, whereas job openings for “technician and associated professional occupations” are estimated to grow at a modest rate. Among the estimated 611,000 job openings, 93% will require high or medium level qualifications.

Third, in terms of specific skills needed by the EU textile and clothing sector based on where the sector might progress towards 2020:

1) Technical production competencies will remain central to recruitment with increased focus on the demand for versatile staffs that can operate across different workstations.

2) Supply chain management, business, sales and marketing skills (including the skills in international trade) are growing in importance. For many EU textile and clothing companies, “trade has taken place of production”.

3) The EU textile and clothing industry is further expecting skills on technology, innovation and sustainability. Leading technology-led areas include mass customization, 3D body measurement, advanced CAD and eCommerce technologies, internet infrastructures for custom-tailored clothing and business-to-consumer eCommerce among retailers.




Re-shoring, Jobs and Globalization–Perspectives from David Cameron


  • How to make a success of globalization and ensure our businesses, our peoples and our societies can benefit from the next phases of globalization?
  • What are the opportunities of re-shoring for the West and how to seize them?
  • How to secure sustainable and well-paid jobs and give people pride in using their skills?
  • Is re-shoring going to bring back all the jobs that were off-shored in the first place?
  • What are the factors that are driving re-shoring?
  • Does reshoring mean the West wins and the East loses?
  • Is there a chance for Britain and US to become the “Re-shore Nations”?

If you care about the questions above, please enjoy the speech given by David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos. The speech is a great supplement to our discussions this week on globalization.

Despite growth of production, no sign of jobs recovery in the US textile and apparel manufacturing sector

According to the latest World Manufacturing Production Quarterly Report released by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), for the first time over the past few years, production of wearing apparel enjoyed a positive growth of 3.9% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012 in the United States. This statistics seem to support the argument that “made in USA” is making a coming back when “made in Asia” is losing cost advantages. A Just-style report quotes that “A growing number of US apparel manufacturers, government officials and industry leaders have been working on initiatives to increase domestic production. As an example, Wal-Mart has recently made a commitment to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made products over the next ten years.”

However, statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the employment level in the US textile and apparel manufacturing sector continues declining in 2013 despite the positive growth of industry output. Specifically, total employment in the US textile mills (NAICS 313), US textile product mills (NAICS 314) and US apparel manufacturing (NAICS 315) sectors were 2.7%, 3.1% and 5.4% less in November 2013 respectively compared to the average level in 2012 after seasonal adjustment.

The mixed pattern imply the changing nature of textile and apparel manufacturing in the United States. Particularly, it is important to realize that the industry is NOT going back to the old days, but rather the resurgence of “made in USA” may be the result of a new round of capitalization in the industry, which is manifested by a growing number of modern-looking plants with “floors empty of people”.   

by Sheng Lu


Race against the machine


Remember the four key words I mentioned in the class—globalization, technology, sustainability and leadership?

This is a short but inspiring book to read about technology and its impact on us:

 “When talking about jobs and unemployment, there has been a great deal of attention paid to issues like weak demand, outsourcing and labor mobility, but relatively little attention given to technology’s role. This was a serious omission. “

“Computers are now doing many things that used to be the domain of people only…Our technologies are racing ahead but many of our skills and organizations are lagging behind”

“technological progress does not automatically benefit everyone in a society. In particular, incomes have become more uneven, as have employment opportunities.”

For TMD/TM majors & faculties, it is critical (although sometimes painful) to think about: How technology advancement will affect the job availability and nature of the job in the fashion apparel industry in the years to come? Do we have/are we learning the “right skills” that can help us survive in the race against the machine in the 21st century?

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