The vast majority of workers in low- and middle-income countries still work in agriculture and elementary occupation or in blue collar jobs. More surprisingly, this is also the case in several developed OECD countries, despite talk of the digital revolution and knowledge-based economy. In fact, while agriculture, has been declining steadily, blue-collar jobs still form the backbone of many OECD economies.
Where does studying pay?
In most developed countries, going to university pays with years of education reducing the likelihood of unemployment and improving employment prospects. However, this is not the case in low-income countries where tertiary graduates are more likely to be unemployed than their less educated counterparts.
Better skills, higher income?
There is a positive relationship between Gross National Income per capita and PISA literacy scores, pointing to the key link between skills and well-being. However, there are several outliers indicating that factors other than proficiency are at play. For instance, Korea and Hong Kong have extremely high levels of literacy proficiency among 15-year olds but a lower GNI per capita than could be predicted based on proficiency alone. The opposite is true for the United States which enjoys higher GNI per capital levels than suggested by literacy proficiency. Similar patterns are observed in developing countries, such as Vietnam or Peru.