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.
Labour markets are continuing to recover from the crisis and employment is set to return to pre-crisis levels in 2017, but wage growth remains weak, according to a new OECD report.
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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.
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