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Research and innovation

Quarterly research and innovation literature review: R&I for skills and competitiveness


Publication date
3 May 2024
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation


Competitiveness and skills development are a pivotal element in the contemporary global economy. Established decades ago, as key drivers of growth, their significance has only intensified. Notably, the surge in technological advancements necessitates a workforce that is not only skilled but also adaptable and competitive.

Industries across the spectrum are witnessing rapid transformations due to technological disruption, and remaining competitive entails maintaining an edge in creating, innovating, and delivering services and products. This is vital not just for businesses aiming to lead in their respective markets but also for nations seeking economic resilience and growth. As the job landscape evolves, the demand for new and evolving skills increases. Employers now seek a combination of technical skills and soft skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. The need for continuous learning and development is imperative to keep pace with industry changes and technological advancements. However, challenges remain prevalent. The skills gap in various industries poses a significant threat to competitiveness at both individual and national levels. This gap is often exacerbated by educational systems that do not perfectly align with market demands. Moreover, the pressures of competitiveness can lead to issues such as workplace stress and concerns over work-life balance.

This literature review seeks to provide a thorough analysis of the importance of competitiveness and skills in the modern economy, examining the challenges and opportunities they present from various angles. The aim is to offer insights into how individuals, organisations, and policymakers can navigate these challenges effectively to harness the full potential of a skilled and competitive workforce.

Contributors for this edition: Valentina Di Girolamo, Debree Gaelle, Alessio Mitra (review coordinator), Jan-Tjibbe Steeman.

Publication cover


3 MAY 2024
Quarterly research and innovation literature review: R&I for skills and competitiveness