Overview - Skills

Skills — Overview


Image illustrating skills statistics © Vector Goddess / Shutterstock.com

What information can I find here?

The dataset on skills-related statistics contains indicators originating from multiple data sources which focus on the following topics:

  • skills supply (the existing skills of the labour force);
  • skills demand (the skills needed by employers);
  • skills development (the skills developed by participation in education and training activities).

Skills supply and skills demand are measured through three different approaches:

  • indirect measures, for instance skills assumed to be acquired through formal education;
  • direct measures, which are direct assessments of skills through e.g. test scores for skills supply;
  • self-reported level of skills, that is people's self-evaluations of skills.

Skills mismatch is the measurement of the gap between demand and supply of skills as well as conditions of workers, jobs or vacancies. Currently, no official statistics and indicators for measuring skills mismatch within the ESS exist, but some experimental statistics have been developped by Eurostat.

Why are these statistics important and what is the European Commission doing in this regard?

The European Commission communication 'A New Skills Agenda for Europe' defines the policy priorities and sets out actions to be undertaken with the aim to make better use of people's existing skills, to equip them with the new skills the labour market demands and to help them finding quality jobs and improve their life chances.

In a fast-changing knowledge-based economy, skills are a pathway to employability and thus, among the policy priorities of the European Commission. In the context of the 'New Skills for New Job' initiative, the objectives related to skills focus on the following actions:

  • Better promotion of the anticipation of future skill needs;
  • Better development of the matching between skills and labour market needs;
  • Bridging the gap between education and work.

In 2016, the 'Technical Group on Statistics for Skills and Human Capital' was set up and given the mandate to create a report proposing a roadmap for the development of skills and statistics within the European Statistical System (ESS).

The group, chaired by Eurostat, includes experts from several European Commission departments, such as the Directorate-General for 'Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion', the Directorate-General for 'Education and Culture', the Directorate-General for 'Communications Networks, Content and Technology', and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training. This group has developed a conceptual framework on how to approach the area of skills-related statistics which originate from multiple data sources within the ESS. More details about this framework is available in the report 'Statistical approaches to the measurement of skills - The state of play in Europe within the European Statistical System'.

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