SkillsPulse. Skills predicting, understanding, and locating shortages in Europe

Lead Partner
Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini

Partners: University of Tartu (Estonia), University of Lodz (Poland), University of Warwick (United Kingdom), Economic and Social Research Institute (Ireland), National Centre for Social Research (Greece), University of Pisa (Italy), University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

The project will address significant gaps in the understanding of skills deficiencies in Europe – i.e. the extent, causes, and implications of skills shortages and skills gaps.

Skills shortages refer to where employers face difficulties recruiting people from the external labour market because applicants lack the skills, qualifications, or experience sought.

Skills gaps refer to the extent to which organisations' workforces lack the skills required to meet their business goals. There is a tendency to think that skills shortages and skills gaps will disappear over the medium to long term, so they do not require policy interventions.

The evidence suggests otherwise: shortages and gaps do not clear quickly enough, certainly from a policy-making perspective, with negative consequences for individual workers, companies, and, in aggregate, the economy as a whole.

This has the potential to damage organisational performance and productivity. It is thus important to measure skills shortages and gaps, locate where they arise (or are anticipated to arise) with respect to jobs, sectors, and countries affected, and analyse their causes and means of mitigation.

The project will provide a conceptual review of skills shortages and gaps, and devise a means of measuring their incidence and the extent to which they are likely to arise in the future, as a consequence of key changes in the economy (notably digitalisation). The project will provide a methodology for identifying the extent, causes, and implications of skills deficiencies in Europe.

A series of indicators will be devised, including a Skills Shortage Index, which can be incorporated in a software tool for use by those responsible for labour market skills intelligence at national and pan-European level. The tool will be road-tested by working with those responsible for producing labour market skills intelligence at national level to provide a valuable addition to what has already been produced.

The project will address the following key objectives:

  • develop a clear framework for measuring skill shortages and gaps;
  • use big data approaches to create a framework that anticipates skill demand, thereby preventing deficiencies due to emerging technologies;
  • deepen an understanding of employers' experiences with skill deficiencies and identify key strategies they use to mitigate their impacts.
  • develop a fully tested skill deficiency index that can be adopted by member states.
  • create tools (a toolbox) for use within existing skill assessment and anticipation systems at the national level.

Fondazione Brodolini is responsible for overseeing the overall management of the project, ensuring effective coordination among consortium members, and guiding the project towards its objectives.

Additionally, FGB leads the development of the Skills Deficiencies Index for having the framework to measure and analyse skill shortages and gaps, and is in charge of the communication, dissemination, and exploitation of project results.