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Cedefop's research on skills mismatch

Cedefop’s research shows that the goal of reducing skills mismatches requires reforms to increase the responsiveness of education and training systems to labour market needs, such as enhancing work-based learning. But skill mismatch changes over time, so striving to achieve a balance between skills and job needs is dependent on the provision of continuing vocational learning that goes hand in hand with skill-intensive jobs.

Cedefop's European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey

About four in ten enterprises in EU regions and sectors claim that they cannot meet their needs for labour and skills despite high unemployment. At the same time, according to Cedefop’s European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey, carried out in 2014 in all EU28 Member States, about 29% of European employees are either over- or under-qualified, with over-qualification increasing during the economic crisis.

The European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey, the first European survey on skill mismatch, examines drivers of skill development and mismatch in relation to the changing complexity of people’s jobs. It detects changing education and skill needs in different occupations and sectors and assesses the extent to which basic, digital and generic skills of individuals are valued in the job market. It also investigates the capacity of initial (e.g. work-based learning) and continuing vocational training to mitigate skill mismatch.​ Find more on he European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey here.

Making Skills Work Index

The Making Skills Work index (MSW) provides a holistic assessment of three core dimensions related to skills and labour market: skills development, labour market activation, and skill mismatch. The index enables the evaluation of various dimensions of MS ‘skills systems’ as well as comparisons across EU Member States. MSW is a composite index comprised of three pillars, each of which measures a different aspect of a country's skills formation and matching system. These pillars are:

  • Pillar 1: 'Development' measures training and education activities,
  • Pillar 2: 'Activation' measures the transition of people into work, and participation in the labour market,
  • Pillar 3: 'Matching' measures the degree of successful matching of skills, that is the extent to which skills are effectively matched in the labour market.

The Making Skills Work Index is presented exclusively through the Skills Panorama. Users can explore by country, by each pillar as well as by each of the individual indicators comprising the pillars. Short commentaries on the performance of each country in addition to a background factsheet are presented together with the Making Skills Work Index.

Click here to find out how your country Makes Skills Work! For any further information or access to the technical report please contact the skills analysis team of Cedefop here

Mismatch Priority Occupations

Which occupations require the attention of policy actions in priority? Cedefop has developed an innovative risk-based approach to identifying skills shortages (and surpluses). The agency has used international data to construct comparable indicators of skill mismatches in the labour market across all Member States and occupational groups within. And it has combined this quantitative analysis with qualitative insights by country experts, who have utilised their knowledge of their country’s labour market to refine the list of occupational skills shortages (and surpluses). As a result, mismatch priority occupations (MPOs) for each of the EU 28 Member States have been identified, together with the reasons underlying these mismatches and any attempts that are currently made to tackle them. The analysis has been conducted with a view of the near future so as to capture foreseen changes in skill needs.

Further details and insights about Europe’s skills shortages (and surpluses) can be found in Skills Panorama new series of Analytical Highlights on Mismatch Priority Occupations. A summary of the results can be read in Cedefop’s Briefing note here.

For further information about please contact the skills analysis team of Cedefop here

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Project contacts

Konstantinos Pouliakas
Giovanni Russo