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Why Skills Matter - Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills

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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 rst 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.

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Why Skills Matter - Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills

  1. 1. Why skills matter FURTHER RESULTS FROM THE SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS 1 Andreas Schleicher Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills
  2. 2. Note on statistical data on Israel The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and are under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law. This document and any map included herein are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.
  3. 3. Survey of Adult Skills in brief in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology- rich environments. 215 thousand adults… Representing 815 millions 16-65 year-olds in 33 countries/economies Took an internationally agreed assessment… The assessment was administered either in computer-based or paper-based versions
  4. 4. Survey of Adult Skills in brief Sample sizes ranged from.. a minimum of approximately 4 500 to a maximum of nearly 27 300 The survey collected background information of adults for about 40 minutes. Respondents with very low literacy skills were directed to a test of basic “reading component” skills. The survey also collects a range of generic skills such as collaborating with others and organising one’s time, required of individuals in their work.
  5. 5. Literacy The ability to... Understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts. In order to.. Achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. Literacy encompasses a range of skills from.. The decoding of written words and sentences The comprehension, interpretation and evaluation of complex texts. Numeracy The ability to… Access, use, interpret and communicate mathematical information and ideas In order to.. Engage in and manage the mathematical demands of a range of situations in adults. Numeracy involves Managing a situation or solving a problem in a real context, by responding to mathematical content/information/ideas represented in multiple ways. Technology Rich Problem Solving The ability to… Use digital technology communication tools and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others and perform practical tasks. The assessment focuses on the abilities to… Solve problems for personal, work and civic purposes by setting up appropriate goals and plans, and accessing and making use of information through computers and computer networks. “Key information-processing skills” 5 Survey of Adult Skills Skills assessed
  6. 6. Literacy item Level = 4 (low) Sample items - Literacy 6
  7. 7. Survey of Adult Skills Participating countries: Round 1 7 2011-12 (**see notes A and B in the Reader’s Guide).
  8. 8. 2014-15 Survey of Adult Skills Participating countries, Round 2 8(**see notes A and B in the Reader’s Guide).
  9. 9. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS Why skills matter? What people know and what they can do with what they know has a major impact on their life chances 9
  10. 10. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 High levels of trust High levels of political efficacy Participation in volunteer activities High levels of health High wages Percentage-point difference between Level 4 or 5 and Level 1 or below Literacy and social outcomes
  11. 11. Labour productivity and the use of reading skills at work AustraliaAustria Canada Chile Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland Flanders (Belgium) France Germany Greece Ireland Israel Italy Japan Korea Lithuania Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Russian Federation Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden Turkey UK United States Slope = 0.666 R² = 0.321 3 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4 4.2 4.4 4.6 4.8 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.3 2.5 2.7 2.9 3.1 3.3 Labourproductivity(log) Mean use of reading skills at work
  12. 12. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS The level and distribution of skills differs markedly across countries Much of the variation in skills proficiency is observed within countries, so most countries have significant shares of struggling adults 12
  13. 13. 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 Literacy score Literacy proficiency of adults 1. Note regarding Cyprus Note by Turkey The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”. Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
  14. 14. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Interquartile range Variation in literacy proficiency Only 2.4% of 55-65-year- olds Singaporeans reach literacy level 4
  15. 15. Low performers in literacy and/or numeracy 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Proportion of the population in both literacy and numeracy in literacy only in numeracy only At or below Level 1 A quarter of 55-65-year-old Singaporeans don’t reach Level 1 (OECD 8%)
  16. 16. 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280 290 300 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 OECD literacy Singapore literacy OECD numeracy Singapore numeracy Literacy and numeracy proficiency by age: Singapore
  17. 17. 180 200 220 240 260 280 300 Score Literacy skills in younger and older generations 55-65 to 16-24 years Average 55-65 year-olds Average 16-24 year-olds Chile Singapore Lithuania France Germany New Zealand US UK
  18. 18. 1968-1977 1978-1987 1998-2007 2008-20161988-1997 1972-1980 1981-1990 2001-2010 2011-20201991-2000 55-65 45-54 35-44 25-34 16-24 Age distribution of the Survey of Adult Skills 22 Age range: University graduation year High-School graduation year
  19. 19. 100 80 60 40 20 0 20 40 Turkey Greece Chile Lithuania Israel United States Poland Russian Federation Ireland Slovak Republic England (UK) Northern Ireland (UK) Japan OECD average Slovenia Estonia Denmark Austria Australia Canada New Zealand Germany Czech Republic Norway Flanders (Belgium) Netherlands Sweden Finland Korea Singapore Level 2 Level 3 Level 2 Level 3 Proportion of adults at levels 2 or 3 Digital problem-solving skills Young adults (16-24 year-olds) Older adults (55-65 year-olds)
  20. 20. Evolution of employment in occupational groups defined by level of skills proficiency -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 Occupations with highest average scores Occupations with next to highest average scores Occupations with next to lowest average scores Occupations with lowest average scores %
  21. 21. The kind of things that are easy to teach are now easy to automate, digitize or outsource
  22. 22. Robotics
  23. 23. >1m km, one minor accident, occasional human intervention
  24. 24. Augmented Reality
  25. 25. A lot more to come 3D printing Synthetic biology Brain enhancements Nanomaterials Etc.
  26. 26. The Race between Technology and Education Inspired by “The race between technology and education” Pr. Goldin & Katz (Harvard) Industrial revolution Digital revolution Social pain Universal public schooling Technology Education Prosperity Social pain Prosperity
  27. 27. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS More education does not automatically translate into better skills, better jobs and better lives 36
  28. 28. Mean literacy proficiency and distribution of literacy scores, by educational attainment 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 350 375 400 Lower than high school High school College United States Score 25th percentile Mean 75th percentile Lower than high school High school College 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 350 375 400 Japan Score 37 Qualifications don’t always equal skills Level 2Level 1 and below
  29. 29. 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 310 330 Less than upper secondary Upper secondary Tertiary Literacy proficiency by level of educational attainment (25-65 year olds):
  30. 30. 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 310 330 Less than upper secondary Upper secondary Tertiary Literacy proficiency by level of educational attainment (25-34 year olds):
  31. 31. Percentage of adults in level 4/5 literacy proficiency by level of education 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Japan Finland Netherlands Sweden Australia Norway NewZealand England(UK) UnitedStates Canada OECD… Germany France Singapore Korea Slovenia Israel Greece Spain Lithuania Italy Chile Turkey Jakarta… Below upper secondary education Upper secondary Tertiary education %
  32. 32. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS 43 In some countries, social background has a major impact on skill In Singapore, Germany, Indonesia, Chile and the United States, social background has a major impact on literacy skills. The children of parents with low levels of education have significantly lower proficiency than those whose parents have higher levels of education, even after taking other factors into account.
  33. 33. 190 210 230 250 270 290 310 330 Neither parent has attained upper secondary At least one parent has attained tertiary Literacy proficiency by parental education
  34. 34. -10 0 10 20 30 Numeracy (Men - Women) Literacy (Men - Women) Advantage to men Advantage to women Literacy and numeracy score differences between men and women
  35. 35. -10 0 10 20 30 Numeracy (Men - Women) Advantage to men Advantage to women Gender gaps in literacy and numeracy -10 0 10 20 30 Literacy (Men - Women) Advantage to men Advantage to women
  36. 36. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS Successful integration is not simply a matter of time. In some countries, the time elapsed since immigrants arrived appears to make little difference to their proficiency in literacy and numeracy, suggesting either that the incentives to learn the language of the receiving country are not strong or that policies that encourage learning the language of the receiving country are of limited effectiveness …and also of immigrants Foreign-language immigrants with low levels of education tend to have low skills 48
  37. 37. Literacy proficiency by immigrant background 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 Native-born In host country 5 or fewer years In host country more than 5 years 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 Native-born In host country 5 or fewer years 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 Native-born
  38. 38. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS Success is increasingly about building skills beyond formal education 50
  39. 39. Participation in all education and training, by literacy level (Adults aged 25-65 years) 0 20 40 60 80 100 Levels 4/5 Level 1 or below%
  40. 40. Lessons from strong performers High quality initial education and lifelong learning • Investing in high quality early childhood education and initial schooling, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds • Financial support targeted at disadvantage • Opportunities and incentives to continued development of proficiency, both outside work and at the workplace.
  41. 41. Lessons from strong performers Make learning everybody’s business • Governments, employers, workers and parents need effective and equitable arrangements as to who does and pays for what, when and how • Recognise that individuals with poor skills are unlikely to engage in education on their own and tend to receive less employer-sponsored training .
  42. 42. Lessons from strong performers Effective links between learning and work • Emphasis on workbased learning allows people to develop hard skills on modern equipment and soft skills through real-world experience • Employer engagement in education and training with assistance to SMEs • Strengthen relevance of learning, both for workplace and workers broader employability .
  43. 43. Lessons from strong performers Allow workers to adapt learning to their lives • Flexibility in content and delivery (part-time, flexible hours, convenient location) • Distance learning and open education resources .
  44. 44. Lessons from strong performers Identify those who can benefit from learning most • Disadvantaged adults need to be offered and encouraged to improve their learning • Foreign-language migrants • Older adults • Show how adults can benefit from improved skills, both economically and socially .
  45. 45. Lessons from strong performers Improve transparency • Easy-to-find information about adult education activities • Combination of easily searchable, up-to-date online information and personal guidance and counselling services • Less educated workers tend to be less aware of the opportunities • Recognise and certify skills proficiency .
  46. 46. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS Putting skills to effective use Skills will only translate into better economic and social outcomes if they are used effectively 59
  47. 47. 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 Level 1 or below Level 2 Level 3 Levels 4 and 5 Literacy Indexofuse Reading at work Writing at work Skills use at work, by proficiency level OECD average 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 Level 1 or below Level 2 Level 3 Levels 4 and 5 Numeracy Numeracy at work Most frequent use = 5 Less frequent use = 1 Most frequent use = 5 Less frequent use = 1
  48. 48. 150 200 250 300 350 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Proficiencyinliteracyscore Readinguseatwork Reading at work (left hand axis) Literacy proficiency (rigth hand axis) Skills use at work and skills proficiency of working population
  49. 49. 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Reading Writing Numeracy ICT Problem solving Indexofuse 1-10 employees 11-50 employees 51-250 employees 251-1000 employees 1000+ employees Skills use at work, by proficiency level, by firm size (OECD average) Most frequent use = 5 Less frequent use = 1
  50. 50. Effect of education, literacy proficiency and reading use at work on wages Percentage change in wages associated with a one standard deviation increase in years of education, proficiency in literacy and reading use at work 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Years of education Proficiency (literacy) Reading at work %
  51. 51. 02040 Qualification mismatch 02040 Literacy mismatch 02040 Field-of-study mismatch Mismatched (over) Mismatched (under) Total mismatch Mismatch (percent of workers) % % %
  52. 52. Effect of qualification, literacy and field-of-study mismatch on wages Percentage difference in wages between overqualified, overskilled or field-of-study mismatched workers and their well-matched counterparts -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 Over-qualified (Ref: same qualifications, well-matched job) Overskilled in literacy (Ref: same skills, well-matched job) Field-of-study mismatched (Ref: same field of staudy, well-matched job) %
  53. 53. SURVEY OF ADULT SKILLS Skills are everybody’s business 66
  54. 54. Lessons from strong performers Guidance • Timely data about demand for and supply of skills • Competent personnel who have the latest labour-market information at their fingertips to steer learners • Qualifications that are coherent and easy to interpret .
  55. 55. Lessons from strong performers Flexible labour-markets • Labour-market arrangements that facilitate effective skill use and address skill mismatches • Encourage mobility to optimise skill match .
  56. 56. Lessons from strong performers Help employers make better use of workers skills • Flexible work arrangements that accommodate workers with care obligations and disabilities • Encourage older workers to remain in the labour market • Encourage employers to hire those who temporarily withdrew from the labour market .
  57. 57. Lessons from strong performers Help economies move up the value chain • Governments can influence both employer competitiveness strategies and product-market strategies, which determine in what markets the company competes • Strengthen 21st century skills • Foster entrepreneurship.
  58. 58. Data products Data Explorer Public Use Files (all countries except Australia) Background Questionnaire Codebook SAS and STATA tools IEA Data Analyser Technical Report Education and Skills On-line
  59. 59. Find Out More at: www.oecd.org/skills/piaac All national and international publications The complete micro-level database Without data, you are just another person with an opinion …and remember: Email Andreas.Schleicher@OECD.org Twitter @SchleicherEDU 72

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