Skills have become the global currency of 21st century economies.
Without sufficient investment in skills people languish on the margins of society, technological progress does not translate into productivity growth, and countries can no longer compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy. Effective skills policies must also be part of any response to address the inequality challenge. But this “currency” depreciates as skill requirements of labour markets evolve and individuals lose the skills they do not use. For skills to retain their value, they must be continuously maintained and upgraded throughout life so that people can collaborate, compete and connect in ways that drive economies forward.
Evidence shows that large proportions of young people do not reach even the lowest level of foundation skills at the end of compulsory education, and many adults do not possess the most basic skills considered necessary to succeed in today’s societies and economies. Yet in some countries, up to one-third of workers consider themselves over-skilled for their current job. How to reverse these trends? What strategies are needed to succesfully convert knowledge and skills into jobs and growth? How to ensure that the right mix of skills is being taught and learned during a lifetime? What are the roles for different stakeholders? What are the main challenges?
OECD’s new Skills Strategy, to be launched during OECD Week, will address many of these questions and concerns. It will provide a framework to support countries with building, maintaining and using their human capital to boost employment and growth and promote social inclusion.