The Challenge

Skill mismatches undermine competitiveness and employment, negatively affecting 39% of EU enterprises. This is likely to remain a key challenge for EU agri-food industry in the coming years, and a policy priority maintained after EU2020. CEDEFOP revealed in 2015 that together with genuine gaps due to the unavailability of the right competences, 60-80% of skill mismatches are actually apparent skill gaps. These apparent gaps are rather linked to inefficient Human Resource Management (HRM) practices such as inadequate investment in continuous training of workers, low quality jobs or little promotion opportunities. Face to these findings, CEDEFOP supports the broad academic consensus claiming that “a crucial ingredient in maximising the quality of an employment match is firms’ HR management”.


The agri-food sector faces specific and severe HR challenges, and their proficient management will be an important source of competitive advantage in the upcoming global agri-food market. Many companies are nevertheless not aware of this fact, usually coinciding with those with a weak strategic HRM.