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European Skills Index

About the European Skills Index

Cedefop's European Skills Index, also known as Making Skills Work Index, measures the comparative performance of the skills formation and matching system of each EU country. The purpose of a skills formation and matching system is to continually develop the skills of the population and utilise these skills by matching individuals' skills to the needs of employers.

The European Skills Index is a composite index comprised of three pillars, each of which measures a different aspect of a country's skills formation and matching system. These pillars are used to organise and aggregate 22 individual indicators that measure the performance of different parts of the skills formation and matching system. 

Pillar 1 'Development' measures training and education activities

Pillar 2 'Activation' measures the transition of people into work, and participation in the labour market

Pillar 3 'Matching' measures the degree of successful matching of skills, that is the extent to which skills are effectively matched in the labour market

Information about the indicators included in each pillar can be found here.

For further information read our blog entry here and for access to the technical report please contact Cedefop expert Ilias Livanos.

Reading and interpreting the Index

The European Skills Index as well as its pillars can be visualised in various ways. A spider chart is set as default and places, in alphabetical order, all Member States next to each other. However, the European Skills Index can be visualised as a columns chart where for each Member State a stacked bar displays the performance in terms of both the Index and the pillars comprising it. As for the pillars presented below the Index, the columns display offers the overall pillar score. The score of each Member State can also be viewed in a table.

The index score is the estimate of performance - the EU average is zero, so a positive score means better than average, and negative is worse than average. For the overall European Skills Index, the scores range from approximately -0.9 (low) to 1.0 (high) skills formation and matching systems performance. For each of the three pillars, the scores range from approximately -1.8 (low) to 1.7 (high).

Filtering by country offers in-depth analysis of the European Skills Index by Member State.

European Skills Index

Skills Development represents the training and education activities of the country and the immediate outputs of that system in terms of the skills developed and attained. Sub-pillars are included to distinguish compulsory education and post-compulsory education and training (lifelong learning activities).

The potential workforce of a country is determined not only by the development of skills in the population, but also by the activation (or participation) of skills in the labour market. Skills Activation includes indicators of the transition from education to employment, together with labour market activity rates for different groups of the population, to identify those which have a greater or lesser representation in the labour market.

Skills Matching represents the degree of successful utilisation of skills, the extent to which skills are effectively matched in the labour market. This can be observed in the form of jobs and mismatches which include unemployment, shortages, surpluses or underutilisation of skills in the labour market. Sub-pillars are included to distinguish unemployment and vacancies, and skills mismatches.