Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Workshop: Measuring skills and human capital in local economies (Paris, France)


Workshop organised by the OECD LEED Programme

within the
Framework for Information Exchange in Local Development project (FIELD)



OECD Headquarters
2 rue André Pascal, 75016 Paris, France

12 March 2010


BackgroundThe Theme / The Seminar / Who / Material / Registration / Contact



The OECD ‘Framework for Information Exchange in Local Development Project - FIELD’ project supports local development organisations in strengthening their information systems. It provides guidance on data collection, analysis and use in policy making, customised to conditions in each participating area. It helps policy makers to build evidence on: What makes your local economy work? What drives it forward, what holds it back? Where and how policy should intervene? Is policy bringing results? The project addresses the need faced by many local policy makers to determine in the vast amounts of national and local data and information some core indicators that can help link data to local drivers of growth and link policy to drivers.

In 2010 four thematic seminars will be organised at the OECD Headquarters in Paris gathering a selected group of international experts and practitioners from partner localities to review the existing data and identify sets of indicators that can be used by local development organisations to better measure performance and policy impacts in the following fields:

1. Measuring skills and human capital in local economies (12 March 2010);

2. Understanding and measuring unemployment and exclusion from the labour market (21 June 2010);

3. Fostering entrepreneurship culture, start-ups and self-employment (27 September 2010);

4. Local development policy delivery arrangements (4 November 2010).

The objective of these seminars is to produce a set of Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) indicators and provide practical guidance to local policy makers on how to build information systems allowing to monitor local economic performance, identify policy need and measure policy impacts. The results of this work will be presented in a manual to be issued in 2011.


The Theme: Measuring skills and human capital in local economies

Working in conjunction with a LEED research project on Skills for Competitiveness, the first seminar focused on measuring skills and human capital in local economies. Key themes included:

  • The importance of skills: Skills are key to productivity, employment and, increasingly, to economic inclusion. Business competitiveness depends on the skilled labour force firms can draw from, and investment in local skills and education is one of the key factors to attract and retain businesses. Higher skills are a prerequisite to future employment as forecasts show that a permanent feature of the labour market seems to be the lower unemployment rate and higher employment rate among the high-skilled. And lack of skills can be a key barrier to employment for disadvantaged groups. 
  • Measuring skills supply, demand and utilisation: The assessment and anticipation of local skills and labour market needs is required to improve the efficiency of the local labour market; better match labour supply and demand to reduce bottlenecks; and to better define the content and structure of education and training systems. In addition to looking at skills supply and demand, skills utilisation by employers (or the way that skills and knowledge are applied in the workplace) is becoming an increasingly important issue. LEED’s Designing Local Skills Strategies study, for example, identified that certain regions, particularly rural ones, are vulnerable to falling into a vicious cycle known as a ‘low-skilled equilibrium’ where a lack of skilled people is matched by a low demand for skills by local employers, who fail to produce quality jobs because they operate at a low level of productivity. This means low salaries and career progression for local people, high emigration rates of talented youth, and a lack of economic growth at the regional level.
    Local development organisations are confronted with the growing complexity of measuring local skills, identifying and forecasting future skill needs and assessing skills utilisation, given the increased mobility of labour, diversity of employment relationships, work practices and the pace of change driven by new technology and globalisation. Robust information systems are needed to diagnose needs, make right policy choices and measure if policy is bringing results.


The Seminar

Objective: to review the innovative tools and methods used, as part of local information systems, by local development organisations to: i) measure skills supply, demand and utilisation in local economies, ii) identify policy needs, shape policies and programmes that can best address these needs and iii) understand if policies are bringing results.

Session 1


Understanding the factors that influence skills

Session 2


Choosing the right policy options

Session 3


Measuring policy results

Session 4


Local skills indicators



Local and regional development organisations (officials responsible for design and implementation of development strategies, skills strategies, local labour market monitoring), international experts and OECD Secretariat (20 participants).



   Download the draft agenda.



No participation fee was required. Participants covered own travel and accommodation. Places were limited. Local representatives were invited to prepare case studies following OECD guidelines.



For further information on the FIELD project, please contact, or


For further information on the Skills for Competitiveness project, please contact