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Getting Skills Right: Assessing and Anticipating Changing Skill Needs

image of Getting Skills Right: Assessing and Anticipating Changing Skill Needs

Digitalisation, globalisation, demographic shifts and other changes in work organisation are constantly reshaping skill needs. This can lead to persistent skill shortages and mismatch which are costly for individuals, firms and society in terms of lost wages and lower productivity and growth. These costs can be reduced through better assessment and anticipation of changing skill needs and by improving the responsiveness of skills development to these changes.

This report identifies effective strategies for improving labour market information on skill needs and ensuring that this information is used effectively to develop the right skills. It provides a comparative assessment of practices across 29 countries in the following areas: i) the collection of information on existing and future skill needs; ii) the use of this information to guide skill development policies in the areas of labour, education and migration; and iii) governance arrangements to ensure good co-ordination among the key stakeholders in the collection and use of skill needs information.

 

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Skills shortages and mismatches

Increased globalisation and rapid technological change, but also demographic, migration and labour market developments, have altered considerably the structure of skill requirements in most countries in recent decades – and these trends are expected to continue in the foreseeable future. In such a rapidly changing world, the need for the assessment of existing skill shortages and for forward-looking information on how the labour market and the demand for skills might change has become increasingly acute. Indeed, this chapter demonstrates that: i) the costs of “getting it wrong” are substantial, with significant economic costs, for individuals, employers, as well as society as a whole; and ii) the extent of mismatch and perceived shortages is high, and in some countries even increasing. Yet differences in the extent of mismatch and the prevalence of shortages across countries suggest that skills policies can make a difference.

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