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First European skills and jobs survey (ESJS)

The 1st ESJS was carried out in 2014 in all EU27 Member States and UK and surveyed about 49,000 adult employees. The survey examines drivers of skill development and the dynamic evolution of skill mismatch of adult employees in relation to changing task complexity and skills requirements of their jobs.

The 1st ESJS collected information on education and skill needs in different occupations and sectors and assessed the extent to which basic, digital and transversal skills of EU workers are valued in the job market. It also investigated the capacity of initial (e.g. work-based learning) and continuing vocational education and training to mitigate skill mismatch.

The 1st ESJS was a valuable resource informing the development of the European Commission’s 2016 ‘New Skills Agenda for Europe’.

Cedefop’s 1st ESJS: Key findings

The 1st ESJS revealed that about 30% of European employees are mismatched in their qualifications and 45% believe that their skills can be better developed or deployed at work. Using ESJS data, it has been estimated that skill mismatch entails, on average, a 2% loss in labour productivity for the EU economy. The survey has therefore highlighted that European policy to mitigate skill mismatch can be conducive to raising the productivity of EU enterprises and improving worker well-being.

The ESJS data has also been used to provide clarity on the impact of different types of skill mismatch. It has facilitated numerous research studies, including:

Key outputs:

The reports ‘Insights into skill shortages and skill mismatch: Learning from Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey’ and ‘Skills, qualifications and jobs: the making of a perfect match?’ contain a comprehensive analysis of the ESJS data and derive key policy messages. A summary flyer ‘Matching skills and jobs in Europe’ provided a first glimpse into the data.

The #ESJsurvey Insights are short analytical research pieces that use the data of the Cedefop ESJS to explore issues of contemporary policy importance (e.g. digitalisation and automation, skill gaps and mismatches of EU workforce, challenges for EU Skills Agenda, etc.).

Key statistics and indicators from the ESJS are also available in the Skills Panorama

The microdata of Cedefop’s ESJS are publicly available and can be downloaded for free (in SPSS format), conditional on completion of an online access registration form. Interested researchers and analysts can also consult the full questionnaire of the ESJS or view a schematic representation of the ESJS structure

Cedefop debated the findings of the ESJS during the high-level conference ‘Maximising skills for jobs and jobs for skills’ and the policy forum ‘Vocational training for the long-term unemployed’.

A selected number of peer-reviewed academic studies based on the ESJS data has been published as special Cedefop-IZA issue Vol. 45 ‘Skill mismatch in labour markets’ at the journal Research in Labor Economics.