Portoroz, 07 June (STA) - A number of executives warned that business in Slovenia faces a multitude of hurdles for a technological boom as they addressed a debate at the 2010 Industrial Forum IRT in Portoroz on Monday. Among the hurdles is a shortage of qualified staff, poor communication between companies and state agencies, and a lack of clear strategy.
The participants pointed to a lack of interest for technical vocations among young people, which is causing a shortage of qualified staff in this area. Moreover, high labour costs are hurting competitiveness.
General manager of technical consultancy iMold Blaz Florjancic blamed the latest reform in higher education for a drop in the knowledge of graduates. Florjancic also pointed out that only 16% of university graduates study technical courses.
This is robbing Slovenia of any chance of making a major technological breakthrough, he said, adding that the country should consider importing engineers from abroad given the current situation.
Meanwhile, chairman of plastics fittings producer Kovinoplastika Loz Janez Pajeta said that Slovenia needs to redefine the role of business as the main generator of quality of life in Slovenia.
Pajeta believes Slovenian business must take note of the changes in values taking place in the business world elsewhere and "conduct a deep reflection and stop copying other business models".
Assistant general manager at car parts maker TPV Tomaz Savsek underscored the importance of consolidation among companies. The story of the European textile industry, which has been overrun by more competitive companies from Asia, will repeat itself in the auto and computer industry if western companies fail to walk the path of consolidation, Savsek said.
General Manager of the Ljubljana Technology Park Iztok Lesjak warned during the debate that Slovenia would find if difficult to boost its competitiveness without cuts in its welfare system.
The two-day IRT Industrial Forum is dedicated to topics of innovation, development and technology. This is the second year that the event brining together business, academia and state bodies is being held.