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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 was 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.

Our approach for conducting Skills Gap Analysis has recently been enriched with the utilization of our big data analysis tool, CockpitWork, and the application of the innovative concept KeyBattleFramework. This pioneering approach to analyze the labour market in a circular manner is the expression of the working relationship that has been established between and Ecorys.

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