Cedefop’s latest skill forecast shows that the European Union can expect a net increase in employment of 8 million new jobs between 2010 and 2020. Nearly ten times more jobs (around 75 million) will be generated to replace workers who leave the labour market.But skill mismatches and, in some sectors, skill shortages raise risks for the European labour market and the competitiveness of the European economy.

Slower economy, greater mismatch 

The need for higher qualifications continues to rise, but because of the crisis the immediate demand has slowed down. This has led many people to take jobs for which they are overqualified and increased the risks of mismatch.

Cedefop’s Acting Director Christian Lettmayr cautions against drawing the wrong conclusions. Presenting the findings of the skills forecast at the European Economic and Social Committee today, he said: “Concerns over possible mismatches should not discourage people from seeking higher qualifications. A highly-qualified workforce is one of – if not the – most important factor for Europe’s competitiveness.”

Shortages persist despite high unemployment
While workers are affected by mismatches, some sectors face shortages. Too few people, for example, are studying science, technology, maths and engineering. These fields continue to be in high demand.
By 2020, about 40 % of young people will have a university degree or equivalent. But qualifications are not enough. In search of the right skills profile, more and more students are opting for upper-secondary, pre-tertiary and university-level vocational qualifications. In 2020, jobs requiring medium qualification levels will still outnumber those requiring high and low qualifications.


Full text of the press release