This audit was performed by the European Commission’s Competence Centre on Composite Indicators and Scoreboards at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and was conducted upon invitation of the index developers. The analysis herein aims at shedding light on the transparency and reliability of the ESI model and thus to enable policymakers to derive more accurate and meaningful conclusions, and to potentially guide their choices on priority setting and policy formulation.

JRC Independent Statistical Audit

Cedefop has been working on the European Skills Index (ESI) since 2013. Three key dimensions were considered in the development of the index: (a) skills development; (b) skills activation; and (c) skills matching.

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. Compulsory education, and other education and training (lifelong learning activities) fall under this category. Skills Activation examines the transition from education to work, together with labour market participation 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.

Purpose of the ESI is to measure, and monitor over time, the performance of member states skills systems, identifying at the same time areas for improvement. At the same time, it can allow for cross-country analysis and policy learning.

Once the construction of the 2018 European Skills Index was competed, Cedefop submitted it to the Joint Research Centre (JRC) for a statistical audit. The JRC assessment of the ESI 2018 focuses on two main issues: the statistical coherence of the hierarchical structure of indicators and the impact of key modelling assumptions on the ESI ranking.

Cedefop has just received the audit report which validates the robustness of the ESI. As the JRC suggests: “The European Skills Index 2018 meets international quality standards for statistical soundness … The ESI framework is well-constructed. One of the greatest strengths is the amount of original research into the multiple facets of skills systems in the EU Member States.”