Skills support high levels of employment in good quality jobs

Skills significantly increase an individual’s chances of being employed; and, conditional on being in employment, increase the chances of being in a productive and rewarding job. The Survey of Adult Skills (2012) shows that the proportion of adults working increases with the level of proficiency in literacy, and both unemployment and inactivity decrease the higher the proficiency of the working population. Besides, wages also steadily improve with the level of skills. Skills also significantly increase the chances that workers will be in a stable job (compared to being in an atypical, often precarious job).




However, there is mounting evidence that OECD countries are failing to fully equip their populations with the skills that are needed in an increasingly dynamic and inter-dependent economy and/or failing to make good use of the skills that people have (Skills at Work, Quintini 2014). In some countries, a large share of individuals score at the lowest level in literacy proficiency: 22% in Italy, 20% in Spain compared to just 12% on average and 4% in Japan. In others, despite very high proficiency, reading and numeracy skills are rarely used at work: this is the case in Japan for example.

This blog will host our own thoughts and research on these issues as well as material from others that we wish to share and disseminate. Most of our work is based on the Survey of Adult Skills.

The first round of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC, 2012) covers 24 OECD and key partner countries and provides the richest and most in-depth assessment to date of the level and distribution of key adult skills on a comparable basis across countries. It also gathers information on how these skills are acquired and used on the job and on their economic and social outcomes.

Analysis conducted on the survey has helped better understand the relationship between skills and labour market outcomes, how skills interact with formal education and training, and how their importance varies along the lifecycle.

More information about PIAAC:  and do not miss the introductory video here!!!!

And… do you want to know about your skill level? Take the test here:


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