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Skills Gap Analysis as a management tool for regional economic development

Spatial Policy

Regional competitiveness feeds on the skills of the people living in a region. A highly skilled workforce works more efficiently and effectively. Those skills, however, need to match with the changing needs of business. A skilled work force drives innovation, which in turns drives the need for other skills.

The Skills Gap Analysis helps governments to understand the mismatch between the skills that exist in a region and those being demanded by industry. The Skills Gap Analysis provides primary researched data aimed to understand the existing workforce at skills level (e.g. IT skills) and sub-skills level (e.g. programming skills, web development). Data collection is done by running a Location Skills Audit©, a product developed by our daughter company Oxford Intelligence. The focus is not on the number of graduates in a particular discipline, but on the number of workers with specific skills in any number of sub-sectors. It is this level of granularity that makes the data so useful.

The Skills Gap Analysis provides regional government decision-makers, industries, educational institutions, and potential investors with:

  • Data on the available workforce at sector level and sub-sector level
  • An online map of the existing skills and sub-skill sets available
  • Forecasted needs of regional industries for skilled labour
  • A gap analysis between the needs of the industry and what the region offers at sector and sub-sector level

The Skills Gap Analysis supports analysis and decisions in several areas:

  • Can sectors maintain their competitive advantage and growth rate and what interventions are needed to help the labour force adjust?
  • Is there a match between the profile of the region and the skills available?
  • Does education in the region provide the necessary skills on time and in the volume needed?
  • What measures are required to adjust skills to industries or education to business?
  • What measures are required to attract skills from outside the region?

The Skills Gap Analysis can be used for:

  • Supporting regional economic development decision-making
  • Developing education policy
  • Adjusting labour market instruments
  • Attracting investors into a region

Ecorys' Skills Gap Analysis experts have already provided work for different parts of Europe, including:

  • Skills Audit of a region in the Netherlands for the purpose of strengthening its sectoral competitiveness
  • Skills Mapping of Estonia for the purpose of attracting investors into the country