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Measuring work activities and skill requirements of occupations: Experiences from a European pilot study with a web‐survey

Kea G. Tijdens (Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Department of Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Judith De Ruijter (AO Consult, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
and
Esther De Ruijter (AO Consult, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 31 August 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to evaluate a method for measuring work activities and skill requirements of 160 occupations in eight countries, used in EurOccupations, an EU‐FP6 project. Additionally, it aims to explore how the internet can be used for measuring work activities and skill requirements.

Design/methodology/approach

For the 160 occupations, work activities were described in approximately ten tasks. Occupational experts and jobholders were invited to rate these tasks and to indicate the skill requirements, using a multilingual web‐survey. Experts were recruited through the networks of the project partners and jobholders through frequently visited websites in the eight countries. The effectiveness of the drafting of tasks descriptions, the recruitment of raters, and the measurement of skill requirements is evaluated.

Findings

The project showed that tasks descriptions for a wide range of occupations and countries can be drafted relatively easy, using desk research. Conducting a web‐survey with a routing for 160 occupations and eight countries is viable. Recruiting experts used more resources than recruiting jobholders using the internet. Measuring skill requirements would need much more resources due to major variations within and across countries.

Research limitations/implications

The article addresses a number of areas that are potentially worthy of further empirical investigations for a Europe‐wide library of occupational titles, work activities and skill requirements.

Practical implications

The paper outlines the potential of a future method for a European library of work activities and skill requirements for occupational titles, thereby facilitating European industrial training efforts.

Social implications

Insight in the work activities and skill requirements of occupations will facilitate labour mobility and related training across EU member states.

Originality/value

This paper explores the potential for a Europe‐wide empirical underpinning of work activities and skill requirements, using a web‐survey and the internet.

Keywords

Citation

Tijdens, K.G., De Ruijter, J. and De Ruijter, E. (2012), "Measuring work activities and skill requirements of occupations: Experiences from a European pilot study with a web‐survey", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 36 No. 7, pp. 751-763. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090591211255575

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited