EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Annual forecast of the labour force and skills demand

Phase: Anticipation
  • Provision of labour market information
Utoljára módosítva: 17 July, 2020

Tööjõu ja oskuste vajaduse prognoos

Angol név:

Annual forecast of the labour force and skills demand


Forecasts are conducted for all economic sectors.

Main characteristics

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication publishes annually a forecast regarding changes in the employment structure. This includes changes in employment figures and the movement out of employment areas and between sectors. In doing so, it gives an assessment of developments in the demand of employment and labour force by sectors of activity, occupations and educational levels. The forecast makes use of Labour Force Survey data, registry data of the Tax and Customs Board on the declaration of social tax, and Population Census data. In assessing sectoral level developments, additional sources of information are used. These include entrepreneurship data, results of related studies or expert assessments of sectoral organisations or large enterprises. The macro level model is based on national accounts data. The forecast is made for the next eight years every year. Reports as well as detailed data tables are published.

There is also a system of labour market monitoring and future skills forecasting (Tööjõuvajaduse seire- ja prognoosisüsteem OSKA). The aim is to improve the labour market relevance of education and training, by also to involve stakeholders more in the process of skills anticipation. The OSKA Coordination Council (which includes the representatives of relevant Ministries, the social partners and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF)) plays a key role in matching labour market needs with training resources, taking into account the proposals and suggestions put forward by sectoral expert panels (consisting of the best experts from job creators, schools and public authorities). The outcomes of the analyses and forecasts of labour market needs provide essential input to the qualification and career counselling system and to curricula development, as well as for various agencies funding education and training. An overview report for the next ten years is published annually, but also overviews of different sectors are published.

A newer forecast system is developed by the EUIF. This is a short-term labour forecast system by occupation (Occupational barometer). It is updated twice per year and uses the EUIF data (vacancies registered in EUIF) and the qualitative conclusions from the regional consultants of the EUIF. The estimates are based on the perspective of the employers. The data presented in the system does not cover all economic fields, but only those that have been emphasized by the employers or regional consultants of EUIF. It does not give quantitative estimates (e.g. how many employees are needed), but shows a general assessment whether the is labour shortage or surplus on specific fields in specific regions.


  • National funds
  • European funds
  • European Funds (ESF)

Involved actors

National government
Funding and implementation (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications); Funding of the OSKA system (Ministry of Education and Research)
Estonian Qualifications Authority (implements the OSKA system); European Social Fund (co-funding of the OSKA system) (85% of the total budget); Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (funding and implementation of the Occupation Barometer)


The forecast is used in the planning of publicly financed education and training courses, and as a tool for designing employment policies. 


The forecast published by the ministry enables anticipation of changes in economic structures. It is used as a tool for planning education and training. Regarding the OSKA system, its main strength is that all relevant stakeholders (public institutions, schools, employers) are included in the process. This improves the outputs of the system, and their dissemination. Also, as the process combines existing quantitative data and the qualitative inputs from labour market experts, the new system provides a much more holistic view of the labour market and its needs. The Occupational barometer gives a short-term perspective and responds quickly to change.


Regarding the forecast made by the ministry, the size of the sample used for this forecast exercise limits the interpretation of its results, and the extent to which more detailed information can be provided. Also the forecast does not enable the anticipation of needed skills in the labour market. However, the OSKA system provides information about the skills, hence together the forecasts should give a rather comprehensive overview of the future developments. The Occupational barometer is somewhat limited due to concentrating on qualitative perspectives of the employers and only those who are clients of EUIF. 

A study on the implementation of OSKA in 2018 (Melesk et al, 2018) concluded that while overall it gives a good forecast and information, a greater attention should be turned on the composition of the sectoral expert groups whose expert opinions determine the quality of the system. Also, the expert groups should take wider context into perspective (outside their specific sector, e.g. labour market trends overall etc). Also, the use of definitions regarding sectors and occupations should be coordinated better between education institutions, labour market institutions and the OSKA analysis.  


OSKA forecasts are the basis for several support measures offered by the EUIF. For example, in the framework of the measure 'work and study', the study allowance is paid in case the person is enrolled to a study programme approved by the EUIF. EUIF approves the programmes which are suffering future labour shortage and does this on the basis of OSKA.
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