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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.3 Skills forecasting

Last update: 26 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 13/11/2020

On this page
  1. Forecasting system(s)
  2. Skills development


Forecasting system(s)

The 2016 Working Futures report series, published in 2016 before UKCES closed in 2017 (see below), presents official labour market projections for the UK. The series projected the future size and shape of the labour market by considering employment prospects by industry, occupation, qualification level, gender and employment status. The Working Futures model focused on sectoral and occupational employment structures, qualifications, and general workforce trends (including replacement demand). The approach exploited existing official data, including the Labour Force Survey (LFS); the full methodology used is set out in the 2016 Technical Report. 

A suite of data workbooks complement the Working Futures reports. Each workbook contains analysis of projected employment and replacement demand by occupation and qualification level. Workbooks are available at varying levels of sectoral detail for the UK; the most recent edition for Wales was published in May 2016-17 financial year.   

The Employer Skills Survey (ESS) and Employer Perspective Survey (EPS) also contribute to the UK’s labour marketing forecasting. Both are biennial surveys, carried out in alternate years. The ESS provides insight into skills issues employers face and the action they take to address them. The EPS provides data on the views and actions of 18,000 employers across the UK as they make decisions about how to engage with training providers, schools, colleges and individuals in the wider skills system, in order to get the skills they need. Welsh data for both ESS 2015 and EPS 2014 is published separately.

Working Futures, the Employer Skills Survey and Employer Perspectives were produced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). Management of the Employer Skills Survey and the Employer Perspectives Survey moved to the UK Government's Department for Education when UKCES closed in early 2017.

Skills development

Skills policy in Wales is set out in the Welsh Government's Policy Statement on Skills (2014) and Skills Implementation Plan (2014). Both documents focus on four key areas:

  • jobs and growth – improvements in employment and productivity levels
  • equality and equity – providing equality of opportunity for individual in accessing post-19 and skills support
  • financial sustainability – ensuring an appropriate and sustainable balance of funding is available to support the skills system sourced from government, employers, individuals and European funding
  • international skills benchmarking – improving the skills profile of Wales to ensure competitiveness internationally.

A set of performance measures were published by the Welsh Government in 2014. These are used as a continual reference point when evaluating government policies and programmes, and act as a method of assessing progress towards the long-term ambition for the skills system in Wales as presented by the policy statement on skills. In 2016, the Welsh Government published a series of National Indicators  which measure progress towards the achievement of the well-being goals as described in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015; the first of these, 'a prosperous Wales', aims to develop a skilled population in an economy which provides employment opportunities and generates wealth.

Both the Policy statement on Skills and the implementation plan draw heavily on the documents forecasting skills needs described above.