In this briefing note from the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) the authors discuss their ongoing investigation into 21st century skill shortages, European labour market trends and the growth of online job vacancies. With concerns being raised around the potential disruption emerging technological trends and automation could cause global labour markets, Cedefop argues that skills intelligence is necessary to designing and reforming education and training programmes. Digitalisation, rising computer literacy and increasing skills shortages in certain sectors and regions have driven many employers and jobseekers online. Large international firms, particularly those in manufacturing and services, have increasingly taken advantages of the thousands of websites and job portals offering applicants an array of search options.
Since mid-2018, Cedefop has collected and processed through big data and machine learning techniques around 32 million unique online vacancy posting from the UK, Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland and Italy. While it is too early for the authors to present detailed results, Cedefop’s analysis has revealed that the top three occupations in demand are software developers, sales assistants and freight handlers. These three jobs represent between 6-13% of all online job vacancies in the seven countries studied. Teamwork and adapting to change were the two most central soft skills demanded by online job vacancies in all three occupations. This investigation will continue to work on the system and analyse the results in more detail. The authors will focus on better understanding the skills and jobs presented by the system and ways to present the information so that it is beneficial to decision-makers in education and all related fields.