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Measuring Skills in Europe

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‘Skills‘ is a central concept in a number of academic and policy debates. Yet there is a lack of adequate instruments for theoretically grounded empirical measurements of level and specificity of skills. The dominant approaches that use qualifications as a proxy of skills have been criticised from numerous perspectives (e.g. Borghans et al. 2001). This paper develops a methodology for measuring skills within performance domains, i.e. by considering what individuals claim to be doing at work. The level of skills is measured on three dimensions: level of uncertainty (complexity of procedures for acquiring and working with information), autonomy (capacity to redefine or change the procedures) and continuous skills building. Analysis of specificity of skills focuses on transferability of skills (difficulty of switching employer as viewed by employee) and specificity of work (difficulty of replacing employees as viewed by employers). Empirical results includes data on more than 20 European countries.

This talk is part of the Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series series.

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