The first in a series of Cedefop Brussels-based seminars, the discussion focussed on tackling skill mismatch – a key objective of the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.

Skill mismatch is costly for individuals, enterprises and societies. Cedefop’s European Skills and Jobs survey, a survey of the skills match of about 49,000 adult employees, reveals that about 1 in 3 employees in the EU are affected by mismatches between their qualifications and those required by their job. About 4 in 10 workers also believe that their skills are not effectively used by their work. The economic downturn has made the situation worse as increasing numbers of highly-qualified individuals have been employed in lower-skilled jobs, some precarious or of low quality. At the same time, even in developed economies where an increasing proportion of the workforce has a university degree, about 67 million Europeans lack basic skills and 1 in 5 enter into their jobs with skill gaps.

About 12 million EU workers have been unemployed for more than one year, distancing their skills from what the job market needs. 4 in 10 employers in the EU claim that they have difficulty finding the talent they need. Evidence of higher wages received by more skilled employees indicates that there is a relative scarcity of the ‘right’ skills (e.g. digital skills, problem solving, communication) in advanced economies.

Event objectives

The aim of this workshop was to share evidence about various forms of skill mismatch and stimulate debate about key policy priorities, challenges and applicable solutions for different Member States within the context of the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe. Drawing on recent evidence collected as part of Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey the workshop sought to address the need for comprehensive policy solutions that include yet extend beyond the traditional realm of education and training policies.

The seminar helped:

  • Understand the costs of the many different forms of skill mismatch to jobseekers, employers and society;
  • Assess the need for a wide range of skills policy instruments to be employed for addressing skill mismatch and for ensuring sustainable lifelong learning and training systems in the EU;
  • Debate best practices, policy approaches and evidence in the field of skill mismatch from their respective national contexts;
  • Discuss the policy options offered by the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.

Event details

Event Date(s)
Event Type
Event venue
Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the EU
Invitation only
Cedefop involvement


Agenda of the Seminar: Policies for matching better skills in better jobs



Cosmin Roman
Cedefop Liaison Officer