Carried out in all EU Member States, the ESJS aims to be a valuable resource to inform EU policy development on vocational education and training and particularly the European Skills Agenda.
The first wave of the ESJS was carried out in 2014 while its second wave was carried out in 2021.
The ESJS aims to provide robust information from representative samples of adult workers on a set of core variables, including:
- sociodemographic characteristics;
- job characteristics;
- job-skill requirements (literacy, numeracy, digital, analytical, manual and interpersonal skills);
- skill mismatches (vertical; horizontal; mismatches in specific skills; skill gaps and deficits; skill mismatch transitions);
- initial and continuing vocational education and training participation;
- labour market outcomes (wages, job insecurity, job satisfaction).
The ESJS aims to provide a flexible survey instrument for extracting timely estimates on issues of significant policy interest, by adding or improving modules in individual waves. A first ESJS wave, carried out in the context of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, collected comprehensive contextual information about the incidence and reasons underlying the emergence of skill mismatches in EU job markets.
The 2nd ESJS wave aims to inform the policy debate on the impact of new digital technologies and technological change on the future of work and skills, also in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The focus of the ESJS2 is on the relationship between technological change, changing job-skill requirements and skill mismatch of EU adult workers and their adaptiveness to such trends via remedial vocational education and training.
Cedefop develops the ESJS instrument primarily with in-house expertise and resources and also in cooperation with technical and policy expert groups, comprised of leading skills experts from EU universities as well as the European Commission (DG EMPL), JRC, Eurofound, OECD and EIB.
Cedefop aims to periodically undertake the ESJS at a regular 5-6-year cycle, to capture structural developments in the bridge between the worlds of work and education.
More information about each survey may be found below.
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’.
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:
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 Intelligence.
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.
To inform the policy debate and vocational education and training (VET) responsiveness to future of work trends, Cedefop has collected a second wave of the European skills and jobs survey (ESJS2). The ESJS2 focuses on the changing skill needs and job tasks of EU workers due to digitalisation and their adaptability to technological change via quality initial and continuing VET.
The 2nd wave of the European skills and jobs survey, carried out in 2021, aims to inform the ongoing policy debate about the impact of digitalisation on the future of jobs and the changing nature of work, as well as heightened concerns about the long-term effect of the Covid-19 crisis on EU digital skill needs and new forms of digital and distance learning. It does so by analysing comparative information from about 46 000 adult employees from all EU Member States plus Norway and Iceland.
Joining forces with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the ESJS2 will be carried out in over 35 countries (EU and EU-periphery) by 2023-24.
The ESJS2 produces new statistics and facilitates timely research on:
- what tasks EU+ workers do in their jobs and the skill needs implied;
- the exposure of EU+ adult workers to new digital and automating technologies in a cross-country comparative context;
- the extent of technological change and digitalisation in EU workplaces and its impact on workers’ skill needs and skill mismatches and overall job quality;
- the extent to which EU+ workers are adapting to digitalisation and changing technologies via continuing learning and supportive workplace practices;
- the degree to which EU+ workers’ digital and other skill gaps are impeding their productivity and job performance;
- structural changes related to the use of digital/remote work and learning and required skills following the Covid-19 crisis.
The ESJS2 aims to inform EU policy development and particularly the European Skills Agenda and the European Digital Strategy.
Cedefop has built the ESJS2 with the assistance of a technical expert working group comprised of leading labour market and digitalisation experts.
Cedefop has now published the first ESJS2 insights and main ESJS2 report. ESJS2 data and indicators are available in the dedicated ESJS2 online tool.
A high-level ESJS2 conference ‘Powering the European digital transition: what can we learn from Cedefop’s ESJS2’ took place in December 2023.
ESJS2 microdata are not yet publicly available.