Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey (ESJS) has revealed that about 45% of EU adult workers believe that their skills can either be better developed or utilised at work. European policy that mitigates skill mismatch can thus be conducive to raising productivity and improving worker well-being.
But better matching a country’s skill supply to the needs of its economy is a dynamic process that requires policies to increase education and training responsiveness to labour market needs. Mitigating skill mismatch in an era of fast-paced digitalisation and automation requires a well-developed skills anticipation infrastructure in countries and an integrative approach to skills governance.
Governance of skills anticipation and matching: Supporting EU countries
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.
Mitigating skill mismatch due to technological obsolescence therefore requires an integrative approach to skills governance among stakeholders, which can ensure a virtuous feedback loop between labour market and education and training actors.
In 2017 Cedefop began to provide technical advice to countries asking for its support to improve their ‘governance of skills anticipation and matching’. In doing so, Cedefop works to identify country-specific challenges, bottlenecks and policy solutions for achieving effective skills governance.
In 2017-2019 Cedefop will work closely together with national authorities in Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Estonia. Successful country-support was already provided in 2016 to Malta and Iceland.
The country support that Cedefop provides aims at improving methodological instruments that collect labour market and skills intelligence and seeks to facilitate effective dissemination and use of results in several policy spheres (e.g. education and training, employment, active labour market policies etc.), in collaboration with key national stakeholders. Using a common analytical framework and various methodological tools (e.g. stakeholder interviews, focus groups, Delphi methods), Cedefop works closely together with governments in EU countries and appointed bodies of national stakeholders to collect information and facilitate policy consensus.
Country-based research and tools on skills anticipation and skill mismatch
- Methods for skills anticipation and matching
Cedefop’s long-standing research on methodologies of skills anticipation and tools to obtain skills intelligence has informed EU policymakers and underpins the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.
In 2016 Cedefop, in collaboration with the ILO and ETF, published five methodological guides to anticipating and matching skills and jobs, targeted at EU policymakers and decision-makers.
- Research and evidence on skill mismatch
Cedefop has undertaken over the past decade research on skill mismatch, focused on:
- Defining the multiple forms of skill mismatch
- Analysing skill mismatch of vulnerable groups, e.g. migrants and minorities, older workers and employees at risk of skill obsolescence
- Scrutinizing the implications of skill shortages and skill gaps for EU enterprises, including implications for their human resource and training strategies
- Collecting good practice examples of skill mismatch policies and practices in the EU
- Developing an innovative risk-based approach to identify a list of Mismatch Priority Occupations, which combines comparable quantitative indicators of occupational skill mismatches in EU Member States with qualitative judgment by country experts.
- New data on skills and skill mismatch: Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey
Cedefop carried out in 2014 the European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey, the first European survey on skill mismatch. The survey offers unique insights into the drivers of skill development and mismatch in relation to the changing skill needs of the jobs of European workers.
- Assessing country skill systems: Cedefop’s Making Skills Work Index
The Making Skills Work index (MSW) enables the identification of success and weakness areas in EU countries’ ability to develop and effectively utilise the skills of their populations. MSW is a composite index designed for assessing three core dimensions of a country’s skills infrastructure and its relevance to the labour market:
- Pillar 1: 'Skill Development' measuring a country’s investment in education and training
- Pillar 2: 'Skills Activation' measuring the transition and participation of people into work
- Pillar 3: 'Skills Matching' measuring the degree of matching of skills to labour market needs
The Making Skills Work Index is presented in the Skills Panorama.
Other related reading
- Skills Development and matching in the EU (2016)
- Skills, qualifications and jobs in the EU: the making of a perfect match? (2016)
- Skill shortage and surplus occupations in Europe (2016)
- Matching Skills and Labour Market Needs: Building Social Partnerships for better skills and better jobs (2014)
- Briefing note: Skill mismatch: more than meets the eye (2014)
- The skill mismatch challenge in Europe (2012)
Guides to anticipating and matching skills and jobs
- Volume 1: Using labour market information (2016)
- Volume 2: Developing skills foresights, scenarios and forecasts (2016)
- Volume 3: Working at sectoral level (2016)
- Volume 4: Carrying out tracer studies (2016)
- Volume 5: The role of employment service providers (2015)
For further information about Cedefop’s activity please contact Konstantinos.Pouliakas@cedefop.europa.eu