65% of children entering primary school today may ultimately end up working in completely new types of job that do not yet exist. Scott McLeod and Karl Fisch advanced this hypothesis several years ago in their widely discussed Shift happens analysis. While such findings may be hard to verify empirically, it is clear that labour market change has been accelerating in recent years and that dynamics go far beyond shifts in sectors and occupations. The broad patterns of workplace transformation and of changing skill needs in today’s jobs are, however, visible and give us some clues as to likely future developments. For example, findings from Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey show that 43% of EU workers have seen the technologies they use at work (machines, ICT systems) change in the past five years or since they started their current job; 47% experienced changes in their working methods and practices. Such trends, which are necessarily underpinned by an array of upskilling and reskilling measures, are likely to continue in the coming years.

Cedefop will continue its work on the system to ensure data quality, analyse the results in more detail and progressively release findings. It will focus on better understanding skills and jobs and on designing ways to use the information so that it benefits decision-makers in all related fields, including education and training. With time, Cedefop’s system will collect more online job vacancies, and it will be possible to look at how jobs change.
Combining different perspectives and methods is often the best way to make sense of what we see. Detailed and real-time information on jobs and skills, coupled with medium- and long-term labour market trends identified using traditional methods, can benefit policy-making by deepening insight into how the world of work is changing. Understanding change is crucial to dealing with it.

Download the full briefing note here.

See also the Skills Panorama Skills in Online Vacancies dashboard