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Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey (ESJ survey) data show that one in five young Europeans are employed in jobs that require a lower level of qualifications than the one possessed (the so-called overeducated). Cedefop expert @ilias_livanos notes, however, that just as important is the phenomenon of underskilling or skill gaps. These arise when employees’ skills are lower than those required to perform their job. In particular, Cedefop’s ESJ survey reveals that one in five Europeans are underskilled at the time of hiring and that mitigating such skill gaps requires continuing formal and informal learning in the workplace.


Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey (ESJ survey) shows that by facilitating transparency of qualifications and skills as well as providing better skills intelligence, EU education, training and skill policies can significantly boost mobility of groups in need. Cedefop expert @K_Pouliakas notes, however, that 'many EU Member States are still treating our arsenal of education and training tools in silos – to affect citizen’s lives the New skills agenda for Europe must ensure that the tools build on and complement each other.'


Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey (ESJ survey) highlights the complex challenges facing European skill systems. Skills matching ranks low as a motive in individuals’ job choices, while job mobility favours the most skilled. Skill gaps are prevalent in some occupations and sectors and for some population groups (re)entering the job market (e.g. long-term unemployed), yet too many of EU workers’ skills are underused and unidentified. Cedefop expert @K_Pouliakas notes that 'a New skills agenda for Europe must further facilitate the transparency and validation of qualifications and skills and invest in better skills intelligence. This will ultimately foster mobility of the groups most in need.’


Cedefop expert Giovanni Russo notes that ‘workers bring to the job knowledge, skills and competence and their personal attitudes to learning. When workers are placed in a stable organisational environment with challenging jobs and opportunities to learn, skills will develop.’


Cedefop research shows that in 2014 about 39% of EU employees believed that their skills were not being fully used by their jobs and 27% also did not have potential to further grow their skills in what are dead-end jobs. Cedefop expert Giovanni Russo notes that 'increasing skills utilisation and formation is linked to creation of added value and competitiveness and should be at the core of EU policies aimed at promoting economic growth through investment in skills.'


When Marty McFly returned back to the future…the clock rolled uncontrollably and eventually came to a halt – the date shown was 21 October 2015. Never could he have expected the ill fate awaiting his graduate son.

Cedefop research shows that 29% of the EU adult population suffers from qualification mismatches, mostly as overqualification. Cedefop expert @K_Pouliakas notes that 'about a quarter of tertiary education graduates work in jobs below their qualification level; this is a waste of public resources and a taint on the value of further education.'


Cedefop research shows that genuine skill shortages are only present in specific sectors and occupations and affect dynamic enterprises, while many firms face recruitment difficulties due to job offers of poor quality.


Data on early school leaving and rates of young people not in employment education or training illustrate the difficulties young people face in today’s world, as well as the economic and social consequences of their being cut off from the labour market and education. They also underline the importance of keeping young people in education and training.


Adults with upper-secondary VET qualifications generally have lower levels of literacy and numeracy proficiency than people with general upper-secondary education, according to the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). This is not surprising.


Demand is increasing for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. Graduates from upper-secondary vocational education and training are important providers of STEM skills, but numbers are falling in some countries.


Literacy levels vary across countries and between vocational education and training (VET) and general education graduates at upper-secondary levels, according to first findings from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) published in October. The findings also show that, unsurprisingly, the young are more literate, but that proficiency in literacy peaks at around 30 years of age.


On 1 July 2013 Croatia became the European Union’s 28th Member State. To mark the occasion Cedefop has prepared a statistical overview on vocational education and training (VET) and lifelong learning in Croatia. Selected for their policy relevance and importance to achieving the Europe 2020 strategy’s objectives, the indicators quantify key aspects of VET and lifelong learning and relate Croatia’s performance to the EU average.


Almost half of Member States have reached the Europe 2020 target of 40% of people aged 30-34 holding a higher education degree or equivalent qualification, according to the latest data. Since the target was announced in 2010, progress has been steady, rising by around one percentage point a year. If current trends continue, the European Union should meet its target by the end of the decade.


The unemployment rate in the EU has peaked at 10.5% (higher than in 2008 by 3.4 percentage points). But between 2010 and 2012 it grew less, with some countries reporting stable or even declining trends.


Despite major differences across countries, on average 31% of young VET graduates continue in further education and training in the EU


In 2011, around 55% of early leavers from education and training were jobless (up by nine percentage points compared to 2008).


In the EU, 79% of vocational education graduates were working in 2009.


One in two 16-74 year-olds in the EU now has a medium or high level of computer skills.


In the EU, 8.5% of all 30-34 year-olds have a practically-oriented tertiary qualification, equivalent to a quarter of those with tertiary education attainment in that age group.


In the EU, more than one in four young people from a migrant background leave education and training too early.


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