Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

Better Use of Skills in the Workplace

Why It Matters for Productivity and Local Jobs

Published on November 02, 2017

This joint OECD-ILO report provides a comparative analysis of case studies focusing on improving skills use in the workplace across eight countries. The examples provide insights into the practical ways in which employers interact with government services and policies at the local level. They highlight the need to build policy coherence across employment, skills, economic development and innovation policies, and underline the importance of ensuring that skills utilisation is built into policy development thinking and implementation.Skills utilisation concerns the extent to which skills are effectively applied in the workplace to maximise workplace and individual performance. It involves a mix of policies including work organisation, job design, technology adaptation, innovation, employee-employer relations, human resource development practices and business-product market strategies. It is often at the local level that the interface of these factors can best be addressed.


Executive summary
Policies and practices for improving skills utilisation locally
Collaborative workplace innovation in the East Midlands, United Kingdom
Public investment in skills development and utilisation in Singapore
The open book solutions profit-sharing programme at Paris Creperie, Boston
Meeting the skills needs of local SMEs in Gwangyang, Korea
Investing in employee skills at the local level through Viet Nam's score programme
Local actions to boost skills utilisation Tasmania's disability services
The Impulsa Perú initiative to improve local worker's skills and employability
Engaging local employers in skills development and utilisation in the Philippines
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On 2 November 2017, the report was launched in London at a conference organised jointly by the OECD, Warwick University, the Work Foundation, and the Centre for Cities. The event brought together stakeholders from national government departments, cities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as well as business, NGOs and research institutions to discuss the key challenges facing the United Kingdom in building more and better quality jobs.

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Key recommendations

The following key lessons and recommendations emerge from this report:

      • Skills utilisation should be identified as a priority across policies 
      • Leadership by employers and high levels of employer and worker engagement is required
      • Specialised, technical expertise is needed to get employer buy-in and affect change 
      • SMEs should be targeted in order to maximise effectiveness and efficiency
      • Multi-faceted interventions are needed – both at the level of workplaces and local economies


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