ABSTRACT. This paper deals with the specific characteristics of Human Resource Management (HRM) in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the region of Western Saxony, Germany. Our research provides a descriptive and explorative analysis of HR processes in the regional Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), their specific challenges and the status of Lifelong Learning (LLL). Thus, new insights and knowledge intended to contribute to research regarding HRM for SMEs were generated. The research results were obtained during the Erasmus+ project SHARPEN during which a collaborative cross-regions survey was conducted in five European countries from 2016-2019. This paper presents a review of the current literature relevant for HRM in (regional) SMEs as well as a discussion of the research results and recommendations for SMEs. It was found that the SMEs situated in Western Germany possess reasonably developed HR structures and processes and that Lifelong Learning initiatives are applied. For the benefit of the economic development of the region, offering ways to intensify the exchange of ideas and best practices as well as adopting theoretical constructs could allow the SMEs to gain new incentives for future projects.
ABSTRACT. Industry 4.0 is an expression that more frequently than others like industry of the future, digital industry, advanced manufacturing and so forth, is used to indicate a series of rapid technological transformations in the design, production and distribution of systems and products. The term, initially referred only to the manufacturing sector, has been progressively extended to the digital revolution which is involving all domains and that is entailing a rapid change of job requirements and skills. As a consequence, new professions are arising but existing jobs are also going through a modification in the skill sets required to perform them. The demands on employees will increase because processes become more complex, interconnected and digital. Currently and in the future, lifelong learning, the ability to think interdisciplinary as well as the development of IT competences will be basic requirements of employees in order to ensure the employability of working people, not only in technology-oriented careers (Richert, Behrens, Jeschke, 2016). Moreover, disruptive changes to business models are producing and will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years. In such a rapidly evolving employment scenario, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends (World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs, 2016). Education has to adapt to the changed conditions and should probably re-think the current model of pedagogy aligning it with the potential of digitization. The use of new didactic methods and the exploitation of multimedia and technological solutions such as virtual laboratories, video-based learning, augmented reality