Cedefop’s European skills index (ESI) makes understanding and analysing the performance of skills systems, within and across EU Member States, possible for the first time. The index was launched today at an event in Brussels.

Europe’s skills base is seen as a major driving force in the effort to create more jobs and inclusive and sustainable growth. But other aspects also matter: how smoothly people move into work; how many and which groups of the population are economically active; and how well their skills are utilised at work. Skills development, activation and matching make up a country’s skills system and are the three pillars the ESI score is based on.

ESI overall scores per country (maximum score 100)

Source: Cedefop (2018).

Cedefop Acting Director Mara Brugia noted: ‘To date, there has been no single measure to assess countries’ complex skills systems and compare their performance. Nor are there any easy answers to the question of how they can be made more effective. To fill this gap, Cedefop has developed the ESI. Used as a monitoring tool, it can be useful to policy-makers. It shows how countries’ skills systems perform, helps them understand their results and indicates where they may need to do better.’

The overall index reveals where countries stand. No Member State reaches, or comes close to, the ideal score of 100. In 2016, the Czech Republic scored highest (75), followed by Finland, Sweden, and Luxembourg. Together with Slovenia, Estonia and Denmark, these countries are the top performers with results above 67. Half of the countries, mainly from western, central and eastern Europe, achieved scores in the mid range from 45 to 62. The remaining 25%, most from the south and south-east, scored below 45.

A closer look into the three pillars that make up the ESI score shows why the Czech Republic is in the lead. It nearly hits the target for the matching pillar, compensating for lower results in skills development and activation.

In contrast, Sweden’s overall rank is mainly rooted in its top scores in skills development and activation, making up for a considerably less strong one in matching. If Sweden wants to close the gap with the Czech Republic, this is the pillar it may want to work on. Looking at Austria’s and Germany’s matching pillars may also trigger reflections on their qualification mismatch scores.

Over the years, the ESI will help Member States assess if the steps taken have led to better results and will indicate where further action is required to support continuous improvement of their skills systems.

Note to editors

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