Europe must focus more on skills than ever before. Skills to adapt and to shape the jobs of tomorrow are essential for Europe’s citizens and businesses to speed up economic recovery. Equally, adequate skills are needed to respond to long-term challenges to compete in the global market, sustain innovation in ageing societies and address climate change. But will the skills that Europe’s citizens have match those needed?
Cedefop’s new skill demand and supply forecast up to 2020 sets the scene for anticipating future trends. The aim of this report is to provide policy-makers, employers, skills providers, employment services and individual learners with better information to make more informed decisions. Europe is on its way to an economy where services and knowledge- and skill-intensive occupations will prevail. But even in occupations that are decreasing, substantial employment opportunities will remain as older generations leave the labour market and need to be replaced. It is evident from the forecast that Europe not only needs to step up investment in education and training, but also encourage employers to use better the skills and talents of their staff. The forecast suggests that aggregate demand and supply trends across countries are converging in the medium to longer term, but we need to dig deeper to grasp what is really going on. Changing skill needs, job polarisation and skill mismatch interact in complex ways. The forecasts in this report shed some light on these phenomena, but better data are urgently needed for more analysis.