‘Jobs go to those who have the right skills’ – European Training Foundation study highlights skills and labour markets in the European neighbourhood
February 25, 2021

‘Jobs go to those who have the right skills’ – European Training Foundation study highlights skills and labour markets in the European neighbourhood


Jobs in manufacturing, construction, and agriculture are those most at risk of automation and digitalisation, according to a new study by the European Training Foundation (ETF) ‘Changing skills for a changing world’, published on 24 February. The first of its kind focusing on the European neighbourhood, the report analyses common features in terms of emerging skills needs and the future of work in an evolving labour market in transition and developing countries.

The ETF researchers and experts from neighboring countries, including Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova, indicate that job polarisation is a recurring trend, increasing the gap between high- and low-skilled workers. To compete in the global market and adapt to emerging needs, these countries need to invest in digital infrastructure and in reshaping education systems.

Traditionally, workers moved to where they could find an employer. With globalisation, employers delocalised some of their business to where they could find workforce. Now, increasing numbers of jobs go to those who have the right skills, irrespective of location. Skills become the driving force of future labour markets,” said Cesare Onestini, Director of the ETF.  

According to the report, 20% of workers in the EU neighbourhood are in jobs for which they are overqualified, although their skills often do not correspond to the needs of employers. Governments and companies should support their workforces to adapt and learn to be ready for change through upskilling and reskilling, so that countries avoid having two tiers, where some workers are ready for change and others are not. The study recommends how to tackle this mismatch, and how to adapt the skills provision: to restructure the education system, to develop effective services for the school-job transition, and to develop more focused skills.  

The European Training Foundation is the EU agency supporting the countries of the EU neighbourhood to reform their education, training and labour market systems.

Find out more

Press release

Report: Changing Skills for a changing world



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