Governments at all levels in the EU – supra-national, national and sub-national – have skill strategies. These strategies have typically centred on boosting the supply and stock of skills in the labour market. Whilst boosting the supply of skills on the labour market is important, it is not sufficient: these skills need to be put to use within companies. Without considering how skills are used, the potential exists for creating a skill mismatches. This problem is evident in the context of ongoing debate about over-qualified workforces in the advanced economies, resulting in a waste of human resources that then creates performance gaps between what these companies currently do and what they could do if they better used their workforce’s skills. However there is a problem in defining and measuring skill utilisation.
In 2017, jointly commissioned by European Commission agencies Eurofound and Cedefop, Prof. Chris Warhurst and Dr Daria Luchinskaya were tasked to clarify the former and develop the latter as part of a revised 2019 European Company Survey (ECS). The ECS is one of the main sources of data used by policymakers and academics to assess EU company practices. The aim of the project was to inform how the ECS can capture skill utilisation at the company level in the EU. A Eurofound Working Paper was produced, authored by Warhurst and Luchinskaya – Skills utilisation: Definition, theories, approaches and measures, 2018. The Paper’s recommendations were stated by Cedefop to have ‘inspired’ the revision of the 2019 ECS.