Find here key and commonly used skills-related terms and concepts with their definitions.



Refers to the ability to apply knowledge, use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems and carry out the tasks that comprise a particular job.

As an overarching/multidimensional concept/term, “skill” can be also used as a proxy measure on occupation, qualification, educational attainment (these measures have the benefit of being readily available in a range of quantitative datasets).  

Other abilities, used at daily work, such as teamwork and problem-solving, are also considered as skills (however it is not always easy to be measured due to their subjective nature) (see also Competence)

Skill assessments

Skill assessments or skill audits can take place at the national, regional, local, or sectoral level and aim at providing a comprehensive analysis of current skill needs and the implications of past trends for the future.  From a skills anticipation perspective, a skill assessment can offer information on emerging skills needs or likely future skill gaps.  This may be provided quantitatively (e.g. with reference to the changing number of people employed in an occupation, or with a certain level of qualification), or qualitatively (e.g. with reference to providing descriptive information about the changing skill profiles within jobs).

Source: Cedefop, Skills Panorama

Skills anticipation

Concerns the processes and activities that yield information about the current and future demand for, and supply of, skills, and the extent to which they are in equilibrium. Skills anticipation results can signal out future skill needs that policy makers can act upon. Skills anticipation usually regards the following exercises/tools: skill assessments; skills forecasting; skills foresight; and other types of activities, such as surveys of employers or learners which capture information on their skill needs or the skills they supply.

Source: Cedefop, Skills Panorama

Skills anticipation and matching system

A skills anticipation and matching system refers to the process of producing and building on available labour market and skills intelligence with an aim to balance the supply of and demand for skills and to provide an informed basis for further economic development via targeted skills investments by individual countries.

Source: Cedefop

Skills forecasting

Skills forecasting refers to systematic means of determining future skill needs. Typically skills forecasting is based on economic modelling of future labour demand in an economy from which estimates are derived about the level of skill demand associated with the change in labour demand.  Typically future skills demand is measured with reference to occupations or qualifications.

Source: Cedefop, Skills Panorama

Skills foresight

Skills foresight

Skills foresight focuses on future developments, either the short-term (for example one year); medium-term (five or ten years ahead) or it may be over the longer-term (sometimes referred to as horizon scanning).  Foresight is based on evidence drawn from a wide-range of sources, often including participatory approaches that are synthesised in a variety of ways.  Relevant methods may regard commissioning papers by experts, round-table discussions, scenario development, Delphi-methods, etc.

Source: Cedefop- Skills Panorama

Soft skills

Skills that are cross-cutting across jobs (see Job-specific skills) and sectors (see Sector-specific jobs) and relate to personal competences (confidence, discipline, self-management) and social competences (teamwork, communication, emotional intelligence)

STEM skills

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills - skills expected to be held by people with a tertiary-education level degree in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths

Supply (skills supply)

The types of skills and qualifications held by people in the labour market (see Demand)

Surplus (skills surplus)

Situation in the labour market where the number of people with particular type of skills is higher than the demand for that type of skill

Teamwork skills

Skills required to work well as part of the team


One of the issues discussed in this working group over the last months is the use of peer review within the very specific context of the work of EU agencies providing scientific advice and technical support and identify the specific challenges of utilising peer review in this environment.


As you know, currently all Cedefop publications undergo an internal peer review by colleagues and the head of the respective department, prior to approval by the director. In addition, a variety of strategies is put in place to verify research outcomes, such as validation workshops with external experts or sometimes exchanges with colleagues from the Commission or other sister agencies. However, from an outsider's point of view the current approach may appear not sufficiently structured to provide the necessary guarantees of quality and especially transparency of the process.


This is why Cedefop decided to set up an internal working group to review current practice in Cedefop regarding peer review and the scientific process more generally and to come up with proposals for improvement.


The draft document attached has been endorsed by the HoD/D of 19/7 as a good starting point for the discussion. It provides a reflection on the key principles applicable to the use of peer review approach within the context of an agency like Cedefop which inevitably differs in a number of ways from the classical peer review in academic publishing.


On this basis, it is the intention of the HoD/D to operationalise the proposed approach and translate it in a short guideline to be finalises by end of September. For this reason, all experts in the three operational departments are invited to provide a feedback by the 5 of September.

Transversal skills

Skills individuals have which are relevant to jobs and occupations other than the ones they currently have or have recently had. Such skills have been learned in one context or to master a special situation/problem and can be transferred to another context


Circumstances in the labour market where a person has a lower qualification level than required by their current job (see Overqualification)


Circumstances in the labour market where a person has less skills than required by their current job (see Overskilling)