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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.
In the wake of the technological revolution that began in the last decades of the 20th century, labour market demand for information-processing and other high-level cognitive and interpersonal skills is growing substantially. The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), was designed to provide insights into the availability of some of these key skills in society and how they are used at work and at home. The first survey of its kind, it directly measures proficiency in several information-processing skills – namely literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.
This volume reports results from the 24 countries and regions that participated in the first round of the survey in 2011-12 (first published in OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills) and from the nine additional countries that participated in the second round in 2014-15 (Chile, Greece, Indonesia [Jakarta], Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia and Turkey). It describes adults’ proficiency in the three information-processing skills assessed, and examines how skills proficiency is related to labour market and social outcomes. Another related report, The Survey of Adult Skills: Reader’s Companion, Second Edition, describes the design and methodology of the survey and its relationship to other international assessments of young students and adults.
The Productivity-Inclusiveness Nexus proposes a new approach to boost productivity growth while, at the same time, reducing inequalities of income and opportunities. The report begins by examining the trend slowdown of productivity growth, which has been observed in many OECD countries over recent years, and the longer-standing rise - and persistence - of inequalities of income, wealth, well-being and opportunities. It then gathers the most recent empirical evidence on some of the common foundations behind these trends and considers possible linkages. The analysis aims to shed light on policy insights to address both issues together, creating room for synergies and win-win policies.
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.
More than ever, students need to engage with mathematical concepts, think quantitatively and analytically, and communicate using mathematics. All these skills are central to a young person’s preparedness to tackle problems that arise at work and in life beyond the classroom. But the reality is that many students are not familiar with basic mathematics concepts and, at school, only practice routine tasks that do not improve their ability to think quantitatively and solve real-life, complex problems.
How can we break this pattern? This report, based on results from PISA 2012, shows that one way forward is to ensure that all students spend more “engaged” time learning core mathematics concepts and solving challenging mathematics tasks. The opportunity to learn mathematics content – the time students spend learning mathematics topics and practising maths tasks at school – can accurately predict mathematics literacy. Differences in students’ familiarity with mathematics concepts explain a substantial share of performance disparities in PISA between socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged students. Widening access to mathematics content can raise average levels of achievement and, at the same time, reduce inequalities in education and in society at large.
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.
Growth in OECD Unit Labour Costs slows to 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016
A more skilled population ahead: age or cohort effects? Evidence from PIAAC and the differences in policies approach.
OECD unemployment rate stable at 6.4% in April 2016