The ILO, as a conference coalition partner, will be involved in two major activities of the Competition, the WorldSkills Conference and the WorldSkills Youth Forum which comes under the theme 'Skills strategies for a globalized world'.
Refocusing the debate on jobs and skills mismatch….
The ILO’s SKILLS branch will lead a conference session on the topic of skills mismatch that will consider not only what causes skills mismatch, but also to better understand the different types of skills mismatches, the labour market impact they have and their relative importance.
High and persistent levels of youth unemployment, together with job vacancies that remain unfilled, are often attributed to mismatches between jobs and skills. The debate frequently focusses on why employers are unable to fill the vacancies they have. But this is only one form of skills mismatch. The problems faced by employers are technically known as skills gaps or skills shortages (which are a form of skills mismatch), but how important are they compared with other forms of skills mismatch like over-education?
The point here is not to underestimate the importance of skills shortages, as nearly 50 per cent of all European firms report difficulties in recruiting higher education graduates (Eurobaromater survey, 2010), but the evidence that these shortages are to do with skills rather than employment opportunities and conditions is actually weak, and whether they have any effect on the performance or income of these firms is also not clearly understood.
One area that has received relatively little attention is the issue of over-education, which occurs when an individual possesses a level of education in excess of that which is required for their job. After an extensive review of existing research, Prof. Séamus McGuiness of ESRI established that a sizeable fraction of workers are in occupations that do not require as much schooling as they have acquired. Think, for example, about that taxi driver you encountered that holds a PhD, an example that points to a mismatch between jobs and skills.
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