Discussion Paper 13

New measures of workforce skills in the EU

Lili Kang, Mary O’Mahony and Fei Peng

Birmingham Business School (BHAM), Birmingham, UK

 

Abstract

This paper presents new data series designed to yield a more complete picture of the growth in average skill levels embedded in the EU workforce, comparing with competitor countries such as the US and China. Harmonised data from EU surveys are employed to extend coverage in existing databases to more countries, to cover the period of the financial crisis, and to skills acquired through informal workforce training. The results indicate growth in labour quality in the EU15 marginally below the US, convergence of the group of new member states to the EU15 but no sign of convergence of China to more developed regions. There is evidence of a pronounced rise in labour quality in most countries after 2007, consistent with theories of labour hoarding, but with some notable exceptions. Expanding the conventional measures of labour quality to include informal training leads to small but significant increases in the growth of human capital in some EU15 member states.

 

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 New measures of workforce skills in the EU

 

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This project is funded by the European Commission, Research Directorate General as part of the 7th Framework Programme, Theme 8: Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities.

Grant Agreement no:244 709

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