An international group of research and labour market experts found that Cedefop’s skill forecasts are a reliable and useful indicator of how the EU labour market is developing.

The group met at a technical conference organised by Cedefop (Thessaloniki 17-18 February 2011) which was focused on the relevance, uses and possible improvements to the agency’s medium-term skill forecasts. The experts also discussed how forecasting results have been used in their own countries, and shared their experiences of skill forecasting at national level. 

Cedefop’s work on skills has contributed significantly to the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, one of the flagship initiatives of the European Union’s new strategy for sustainable growth and jobs, Europe 2020. The purpose of this initiative is to increase labour market participation and ensure a better match between the demand and supply of skills across Europe.

Cedefop called on the experts to help improve its methods and tools for skills forecasting, and report on national or sectoral uses of the forecast studies. All conference participants agreed that further improvements were needed to ensure quality and relevance. The invited experts examined the consistency of Cedefop’s methods and tools and compared them with various national approaches. They also proposed adjustments and suggested ideas for the future development of the forecasts. The existence of reliable national data is the most important variable in achieving accurate and detailed projections for the future.

At the conference, Cedefop announced its latest update of the 2010 forecast. Labour market statistics have proved this forecast to be fairly accurate; minor discrepancies were due to the impact of the economic crisis on the labour marketm which turned out to be less harsh than had been anticipated at the beginning of 2010. 

The next Cedefop forecast is due in spring 2012.

Photograph, left to right: Acting Director Christian Lettmayr; Alena Zukersteinova and Vladimir Kvetan of the Skills team.

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