Skills development

Developing skills and competences is an essential part of improving quality of work and employment. The Foundation paper Quality of work and employment: issues and challenges identifies four main aspects to be taken into account in this regard:

  • qualifications;
  • training;
  • learning organisation;
  • career development.

The European Working Conditions Surveys have included a number of questions concerning training and skills development to assess its importance in the workplace. The 2005 survey found that 27% of employees say they received training during the previous 12 months.

According to the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey (2005), high-skilled jobs (both blue and white collar) account for more than half (55%) of all jobs in Europe. This high proportion of workers in higher skilled job categories reflects an overall improvement in competences in the EU.

New forms of work organisation, changes in the nature of work and new technologies require new and higher levels of qualification. These include social relations and communication skills as well as occupational skills.

More flexible work organisations, with decentralised management structures, can mean greater autonomy and training opportunities for workers. This is not true, however, for managerial decentralisation models which maintain low levels of operator autonomy.