The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) conducted the first pan-European study on skill mismatches and the rapidly changing skill demands of the workplace. For the study, Cedefop surveyed 49,000 adult employees aged 24-65 from the European Union’s 28 Member States. The goal was to determine whether workers’ skills and qualifications matched the needs of their jobs and the extent to which they are developed and used.

Survey findings include the need for more and better jobs that invest in people’s skills to overcome skill mismatches. Many of the skills that are needed in the workplace are not learned at school or university, but informally on the job.

According to Cedefop, employees face a constant challenge of learning new things to keep up with the demands of the workplace. The survey finds that almost half (47%) of workers have seen how the technologies that they use at work have changed. 21% of workers also consider it very likely that several of their skills will become obsolete in the next five years.

Many of these workers are professionals who work in rapidly evolving sectors, such as ICT and financial services. But change also affects semi-skilled workers who have seen their jobs require a greater variety of tasks.

The survey also shows that 25% of highly qualified young adult employees are overqualified for their job. In particular, those who graduated after 2008 are almost twice as likely to be overqualified for their first job as those who graduated between 1991 and 2001.

In addition, around 40% of adult employees in the EU have completed education or training through some work-based learning. However, only 25% of younger graduates (aged 24-34) in humanities, languages and arts, economics, finance and law have participated in work-based learning.

You can learn more about this survey, here.

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