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, AI 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 provides technical advice to countries asking for its support to improve their ‘governance of skills anticipation and matching’. Skills governance refers to the process of putting in place appropriate institutions, operational processes and dissemination channels that may facilitate stakeholder interaction and a virtuous feedback loop between VET and the labour market, based on reliable labour market and skills intelligence.
Since 2016 Cedefop has worked together with several European countries (Malta, Iceland, Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia and Slovenia) to identify country-specific challenges, bottlenecks and policy solutions for achieving effective skills governance.
Cedefop’s skills governance framework
To effectively carry out the country reviews, Cedefop has developed a comprehensive skills governance analytical framework that identifies key elements of well-functioning systems of skill needs anticipation in countries. On the basis of this generic framework, Cedefop, in close consultation with National Steering Committees comprised of key Ministries and stakeholders in each country, refine and customise the framework so as to address national-specific priorities and challenges. Cedefop subsequently deploys additional methodological tools (stakeholder interviews, focus groups, Delphi methods) to collect in-depth information and facilitate policy consensus among national stakeholders.
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 2020 Skills Agenda.
Cedefop, in collaboration with the ILO and ETF, published a series of Methodological guides to anticipating and matching skills and jobs, targeted at EU policymakers and decision-makers.
Cedefop will also be publishing soon a series of practical guides on understanding technological change and impact on skill needs.
Research and evidence on skill mismatch
Cedefop has undertaken over the past decade in-dept 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
- Scrutinising 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 Skill shortage and surplus occupations in Europe, which combines comparable quantitative indicators of occupational skill mismatches in EU Member States with qualitative judgment by country experts.
New data on skill mismatch
To inform its evidence on skill mismatch, Cedefop has carried out two waves of the European skills and jobs survey (ESJS). The survey offers unique insights into the drivers of skill development and mismatch in relation to the changing skill needs (e.g. digitalisation) of European workers’ jobs.
Cedefop’s Matching skills online tool also showcases a collection of policy instruments from EU Member States that use information on labour market trends and anticipated skill needs to inform and shape upskilling and skills matching policies for the current and future world of work.
Other related reading (co)authored by Cedefop:
- Making labour market and skills intelligence policy relevant. How Cedefop supports countries (2017)
- Skills Development and matching in the EU (2016)
- Matching Skills and Labour Market Needs: Building Social Partnerships for better skills and better jobs (2014)
- The skill mismatch challenge in Europe (2012)