Skills for Trade and Economic Diversification (STED)

The ILO’s STED tool helps to align skills policies with sectoral strategies for export growth, economic diversification and employment creation.


Is a technical assistance tool developed by the ILO that provides strategic guidance for the integration of skills development in sectoral policies. It is designed to support growth and decent employment creation in sectors that have the potential to increase exports and to contribute to economic diversification.

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STED Applications

Ukraine 2010 - Metal Industry and Tourism Sectors

FYR Macedonia 2011 – Tourism and Food Industries Sectors

Bangladesh 2011 - Agro Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Sectors

Kyrgyzstan 2011 – 2012 - Garment Sector

How it works

STED in six stages

STED is applied to economic sectors that are selected based on their potential to contribute to export growth, economic diversification, and employment creation.

  • Stage 1: A sector is characterized in terms of its competitive position and world market outlook. This leads to the definition of an ambitious but realistic growth scenario for the medium term.
  • Stage 2: The growth scenario is analyzed in terms of business capabilities that firms will need to acquire in order to achieve it.
  • Stage 3: This stage identifies the skills businesses will need among their workers to develop the business capabilities from stage 2.
  • Stage 4: Based on the results from the previous stages and an analysis of the current occupational structure, STED anticipates changes in labour demand by skill types.
  • Stage 5: Results from stage 4 are matched to an analysis of current skills supply in order to identify critical skills gaps.
  • Stage 6: Concrete policy recommendations at the policy, institutional, and enterprise level are developed on how these gaps can be closed.