The Hottest Labour Market Tool
It would be a match made in heaven: the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills (known officially as the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, PIAAC) and the European Commission’s ESCO project (a multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications, and Occupations). Together, they would create an invaluable map of the supply and demand for professional skills across countries.
In the EU, in particular, it would support job mobility and therefore a more integrated and efficient labour market. With its “common language” on occupations and skills, it can help to design education and training curricula and guide those wanting to reskill or upskill.
But how to do it? It would be like marrying an encyclopaedia to a dictionary. Even the best of brains would balk at the task. But not, as it turns out, an artificial intelligence.
This is what a Pillars team from the University of Milano-Bicocca and the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt just did. They developed algorithms to combine the PIAAC and ESCO datasets, with an AI doing the heavy lifting. Inevitably, they christened it PIAAC2ESCO.
In practice, the new tool links a list of ESCO skills (v1.0.8) to questions of the PIAAC background questionnaire (from years 2011-2017), based on their semantic similarity. The linkage is done using AI in a framework that combines word embeddings, taxonomy alignment, and experts’ validation.
The team included all 73 questions relevant to the analysis from the PIAAC background questionnaire. In the next step, they had the system generate the best matches with the skills contained in the ESCO Skills Pillar (more than 13,600 items).
The final validated dataset covers 21 PIAAC questions and the mapped ESCO skills.
And the best part? It is free and available to all interested parties. All you have to do is register.