This chapter analyses how skills are used at work, why skills use matters for workers and economies and its key determinants. It draws on data for the 28 OECD countries participating in the Survey of Adult Skills.
This 2016 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook provides an in-depth review of recent labour market trends and short-term prospects in OECD countries. Chapter 1 examines recent labour market developments, with a special focus on vulnerable youth who are neither working nor in education or training. The size of this group has grown in recent years in many OECD countries and governments will need to take vigorous policy measures if they are to meet the target, recently adopted by G20 governments, of reducing the share of youth who are vulnerable by 15% by 2025. Chapter 2 considers skills use at work: are countries doing enough to assure that workers are able to make full use of their skills on the job? Chapter 3 looks at the short-term effects of structural reforms on employment and identifies successful strategies for reducing transition costs. Chapter 4 looks at how to close the labour market gender gap in emerging economies, proposing a comprehensive policy response to the problem. The Outlook’s analysis and recommendations are complemented by a statistical annex.
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This OECD report was developed in collaboration with the United States, Mexico and Canada, for consideration by the three Leaders in the context of the 2016 North American Leaders Summit.
Today, the OECD publishes "Skills Matter: Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills", the Second International Report for the Survey of Adults Skills, which covers a further nine countries and sub-national entities – Chile, Greece, Indonesia (Jakarta), Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia and Turkey– that collected data in 2014-15.
New research points to the role of field-of-study mismatch in explaining the long-term effects of cyclical labour market shocks. It suggests that policy effort ought to be directed not just towards the NEETs, but also towards youth who find employment during recessions, given their higher risk of prolonged field-of-study mismatch and lower wages if mismatch is accompanied by overqualification.
The demand for soft skills is increasing, and recent evidence suggests that the supply does not seem to keep up. The benefits from further development of these skills go beyond better labour market outcomes, as soft skills have been shown to contribute to overall well-being.
A more skilled population ahead: age or cohort effects? Evidence from PIAAC and the differences in policies approach.
Tax incentives are used widely across OECD countries to incentivise individuals to invest in education and training, but are they effective? Recent evidence from the USA highlights the risk of creating overly complex systems in which the embedded incentives are no longer fully understood by individuals. This carries an important lesson for other countries in designing their own tax measures for skills investments.
Workers can be mismatched by qualifications while their skills are, in fact, adequate for their jobs. This situation, ‘apparent’ qualification mismatch is more common in certain fields of study than in others and speaks to the need of strengthening the links between employers, education providers and students to share information on the true skills, to avoid true skills mismatch.
A range of OECD analysis has been exploring the relationship between digitalisation, jobs and skills, the magnitude of potential job substitution due to technological change, the relationship between globalisation and wage polarisation, as well as the changes to the organisation of work. This post focused on a recent paper on Automation.