Since mid-2018, Cedefop’s online job vacancies data retrieval system has collected around 32 million unique vacancy postings in Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy and UK. Their labour markets equal around two-thirds of employment in the EU. 79% of the online job vacancies has been collected from private online job portals, 15% from public portals and 6% from other sources (such as newspaper websites). Big data and machine learning techniques capable of working with large volumes of text in different languages have been used to extract and classify information to make it suitable for analysis (Figure 1). Information on skills was extracted using the multilingual classification of European skills, competences, qualifications and occupations (ESCO).
It is too early to present detailed results, but the information already collected provides some insights as to the skills employers seek. At almost three million job vacancies, the top three occupations in demand are software developers, sales assistants and freight handlers.
Although varying by country, these occupations together represent about 6 to 13% of all online job vacancies, but their relative importance differs. The share of online vacancies aimed at recruiting freight handlers is higher in Italy than in other countries. The share of online vacancies for shop sales assistants in Ireland and the UK is comparatively low. Among the three occupations considered, the share of online vacancies published to recruit software developers differs least across countries.
Looking at the skills employers demand from applicants, teamwork and adapting to change are central (see Figure 2). These soft skills are the most crucial in the three example occupations and beyond. Dealing with change in modern workplaces is a skill demanded in around three out of four online job vacancies Cedefop analysed. In two out of three, being able to work in a team is among the skills requested by employers.
Cedefop’s system will not only provide granular information on vacancies, occupations and skills, but also help develop insight into how employers react when faced with skills shortages. When employers struggle to find the staff they need, many look beyond national borders. Initial analysis suggests that, for example, in Ireland one in four jobs posted online is addressed to job-seekers abroad.