More women, younger people and more technology: these are the challenges of the industrial sector


The latest active population survey (EPA), carried out by the INE, indicates a boom in employment in industry: specifically, this sector has increased a total of 93,500 jobs this 2023. However, employment has fallen: there are now 11,200 fewer Spaniards and Spaniards who are engaged in this sector. This loss of staff and increase in the job offer shows that this sector is facing a great challenge: to attract young talent. In this sense, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, during the first quarter of 2023, 330,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 29 were engaged in industry. Although this figure has increased compared to the first quarter of 2022, the general trend is decreasing: in 2008 the total number of young people engaged in the industry was 742,300.

With the aim of promoting the training and internationalization of young talent in sectors such as industry, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has promoted the ICEX Vives Project. Some of the objectives of this initiative are to generate employment, make it easier for companies to attract young talent or promote gender equality. In this sense, it should be noted that one of the challenges facing the industrial sector is to incorporate more female profiles in its templates. According to the latest data from Statista, in 2022, 16.4% of men were engaged in the industry while the percentage of women fell to 7.5%.

To the female incorporation and the recruitment of new and young talents, other challenges for the industry are added. Faced with this reality, the online school specialized in industrial training Mint analyzes a little more in depth what these main challenges are:


  • Technological incorporation. The development of new technologies focused on the industrial sector have the objective of improving productivity and minimizing environmental impact. Thus, Industry 4.0, referring to the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by the application of new technologies, such as robotics, data management or Artificial Intelligence, focused on the digitization and automation of processes. In this context, the sector will need to incorporate 220,000 new technological workers during this decade, according to reports from the consulting firm PwC. Thus, the digitalization of the labor force could produce a GDP increase of 6.7% in 2030. In this sense, training through masters or postgraduate degrees in the technological field focused on the industrial sector is an option that may be attractive for many organizations. In this context, Beatriz Nespereira recognizes that both the ”courses such as the Master’s Degree in Industrial Maintenance 4.0 or the Master’s Degree in Industry 4.0 offered by Mint prepare professionals to understand the main challenges arising from the digital transformation of the industry”.


  • Generational relay and young talent. According to different studies by the Bank of Spain, the aging of the active population slows down technological innovation, thus limiting long-term potential growth. In addition, the growing digitalization and automation of the sector requires professionals trained to handle new technologies. Therefore, it is crucial for the good development of companies in the industrial sector to have young profiles. Despite this, for this social group, industry may seem like a work sector of character with little adaptation to new work models. Therefore, in order to reach young talent, it is essential to be present on the main digital recruitment platforms and optimize the selection process, in addition to proposing growth programs within the companies themselves.


  • Female presence in the industrial sector. The industry is a sector traditionally masculinized by the type of work or by stereotypes of society. Despite this, the canons have changed and more and more varied profiles are required. If the gender gap itself were not enough, a report by the consulting firm PwC indicates that this difference costs Spain money, up to a total of almost 214,000 million euros. This negative impact motivates organizations to increase the female presence in the industrial environment.