April 20, 2017
The Netherlands should step up its efforts to give people the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world, according to a new OECD report.
OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report: The Netherlands says that the country enjoys a strong economy and good quality of life, with comparatively high employment and labour market participation and a comparatively wealthy society with low income inequality.
The Dutch education system and the skills of the Dutch population are very strong overall. But there are concerns that too many people in the Netherlands are not developing the “right” skills to succeed or taking sufficient responsibility for maintaining and further developing their skills in adulthood. Continuing to develop skills in adulthood is increasingly important as experts project that employment growth to 2025 in the Netherlands will be heavily concentrated in skilled occupations that typically require a tertiary education.
To tackle these challenges, the OECD says that the government, individuals, employers, trade unions, education and training providers and others should take collective responsibility and joint action. It recommends that they:
Foster more equitable skills outcomes. The skills system in the Netherlands works well to ensure that most people develop strong cognitive, social and emotional and job-specific skills. Nonetheless, a sizable number of adults still have very low levels of basic skills. Moreover, certain groups have more limited opportunities to develop and fully use their skills. The Netherlands should strive to ensure that skills outcomes better reflect individuals’ abilities and efforts, rather than their personal circumstances.
Create skills-intensive workplaces. Developing and using skills fully and effectively in workplaces is critical for increasing the productivity and competitiveness of firms, as well as for improving the earnings and job satisfaction of workers. Skills-intensive workplaces are particularly important for creating opportunities for adults to use and further develop their skills, especially those from groups that may be lagging behind and who may be reluctant to return to formal schooling, such as low-skilled adults.
Promote a learning culture. In a world where people are not only competing with increasingly highly skilled people in low-wage countries, but also with increasingly cheap labour saving technologies, it is more important than ever for adults to engage in continuous skills development so that they can adapt to change and seize new opportunities as they arise. Promoting a culture of learning in the Netherlands is not only an important goal in its own right, but could also help to foster more equitable skills outcomes and encourage the formation of skills-intensive workplaces.
To read the report and for more information, go to http://www.oecd.org/skills/nationalskillsstrategies/buildingeffectiveskillsstrategiesatnationalandlocallevels.htm