Working at sectoral level. VOLUME 3

Guide to anticipating and matching skills and jobs. Volume 3

This document is part of a wider set of guides developed jointly by Cedefop, the ETF, and the ILO. It sets out the advantages of following a sectoral approach. While the focus here is on presenting the case for sectoral approaches to skills anticipation and matching, it is important also to recognise their limitations. Some of these are highlighted in the detailed assessment of the individual cases, where some of the problems and pitfalls are indicated. All methods have their limitations and advantages. Users may need to consider the full set of guides to decide which approach to adopt. 

There are also a few general caveats. One problem with all approaches focused on just a single sector is that this provides only a partial view. For many purposes, a broader perspective is needed to capture the more general interests of the economy and the population. In such situations, multisector macroeconomic models or national enterprise surveys, covering all sectors, may be needed to provide a wider perspective. However, for many purposes there is no substitute for an in-depth sectoral analysis to obtain a sound understanding of the key issues and their implications in terms of skills demand and supply. 

The establishment of SSCs (or similar bodies) has been an increasingly popular phenomenon across the globe. It is often driven by governments wanting to engage employers with the skills development agenda. Future developments may require more self-sustaining organisations. Unless such bodies have deep roots or are given the time and necessary resources to establish themselves, they will not generate the hoped-for benefits.

Employers are not necessarily interested in investing their time in the issues that may seem to be primarily of a public concern. Setting up structures to enable cooperation may prove difficult. It is also important to guard against the risk that such bodies may not always have interests that coincide with those of the government and society at large. 

Finally, the future is not predetermined. Sectoral approaches to skills anticipation and matching are often more about trying to influence the future for a particular part of the economy rather than attempting to understand what it might look like. 

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