The percentage of adult EU28 employees whose foundation or basic skills (literacy, numeracy, ICT, foreign languages) are ranked lower/are barely matched to the level needed to do their job. Based on results of Cedefop's European skills and jobs survey. Respondents were asked to score, on a 0-10 scale, their literacy, numeracy, ICT and foreign language skills compared to what is required for doing their job, where 0 means their level of skill is a lot lower than required and 10 means their level of skill is a lot higher than required. Scores below 7 (the lowest quartile) were used to calculate literacy, numeracy and ICT skills gaps. Scores below 5 (the lowest quartile) were used to calculate foreign language skills gaps.

In general, skill gaps tend to be greater in jobs that need high-level skills to be performed, when skill needs change fast over time (e.g. due to new technologies) or if employees do not receive adequate skill development opportunities to keep up with the changing nature of their job tasks.

Foundation skills are a minimum condition so that individuals can survive and progress in an international ‘knowledge-based’ economy and society.