Education at a Glance 2015
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Education at a Glance 2015

OECD Indicators

Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators is the authoritative source for accurate information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools.

The 2015 edition introduces more detailed analysis of participation in early childhood and tertiary levels of education. The report also examines first generation tertiary-educated adults’ educational and social mobility, labour market outcomes for recent graduates, and participation in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education. Readiness to use information and communication technology for problem solving in teaching and learning is also examined. The publication provides indicators on the impact of skills on employment and earnings, gender differences in education and employment, and teacher and school leader appraisal systems. For the first time, this edition includes highlights of each indicator inside the book. The report covers all 34 OECD countries and a number of partner countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and for the first time, Costa Rica and Lithuania).

The Excel™ spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts in Education at a Glance are available via the StatLinks provided throughout the publication.

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Indicator A9 What is the Impact of Skills on Employment and Earnings? You do not have access to this content

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Indicator A9 measures the impact of skills proficiencies on earnings and employment. Skills proficiencies included in this measure are numeracy, literacy, and readiness to use information and communication technologies (ICT) for problem solving.

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Chapter Highlights

  • On average across countries and sub-national entities that participated in the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) (2012), employment rates and earnings increase with educational attainment and, to a lesser extent, with higher skills.

  • The highest returns to greater skills proficiency accrue to individuals who have attained tertiary education.

  • Among adults with tertiary education and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, skills in using ICT for problem solving are associated with higher earnings compared to adults who are equally proficient in numeracy, and proficiency in numeracy yields higher returns than equivalent proficiency in literacy.

Chart A9.1. Difference in hourly earnings, by educational attainment and skills (2012)
Survey of Adult Skills, 25-64 year-old non-students, average across OECD countries, reference category is below upper secondary education and proficiency Level 1 or below, or skills Group 0 or 1

How to read this chart

On average, tertiary-educated adults with literacy proficiency of Level 4 or 5 earn 48% more compared with adults with below upper secondary education and literacy proficiency of Level 1 or below.

The percentages represent the earnings outcomes compared to the reference category (reference category is below upper secondary education and proficiency Level 1 or below, or skills Group 0 or 1).

Notes: Literacy and numeracy are based on proficiency levels whereas skills and readiness to use ICT for problem solving is based on skill groups which follow a different approach. For skills and readiness to use ICT for problem solving 4 or 5 should be interpreted as Group 4. Values are not shown when there are too few observations to provide reliable estimates.

Source: OECD. Tables A9.2 (L), A9.2 (N) and A9.2 (P). See Annex 3 for notes (www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance-19991487.htm).

ContextExpand / Collapse

Basic literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills are usually acquired in formal schooling (Green and Riddell, 2012). But adults who have attained the same level of education can have different levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy skills, and in skills related to using information and communication technology (ICT) to solve problems. To the extent that workers’ productivity is related to the knowledge and skills they possess, and that wages reflect such productivity, albeit imperfectly, individuals with more skills should expect higher returns from labour market participation, and would thus be more likely to participate in it. Thus, improving the teaching of literacy and numeracy in schools and in programmes for adults with poor skills and limited familiarity with ICT may provide considerable economic and social returns for individuals and society as a whole (OECD, 2013).

Other findingsExpand / Collapse

  • Adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and numeracy proficiency of Level 1 or below earn 7% more per hour than adults with below upper secondary education and numeracy proficiency of Level 1 or below, while adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and numeracy proficiency of Level 4 or 5 earn 16% more per hour than adults with below upper secondary education and numeracy proficiency of Level 1 or below. High skills, combined with a tertiary education, are even more highly rewarded. Tertiary-educated adults with numeracy proficiency of Level 4 or 5 earn 56% more than adults with below upper secondary education and numeracy proficiency of Level 1 or below – a difference of 40 percentage points.

  • The odds of being employed do not necessarily increase as literacy skills improve. For example, in Poland, the odds ratio of being employed for an adult with tertiary education and literacy proficiency of Level 1 or below is the highest (11.7), whereas the odds ratio for a tertiary-educated adult with literacy proficiency of Level 4 or 5 is 9.0.

  • The greatest returns for individuals with tertiary education and numeracy proficiency of Level 4 or 5 are observed in the Slovak Republic. The hourly earnings of adults with those levels of education and skills are 108% higher than those of adults with below upper secondary education and Level 1 or below proficiency in numeracy – a much larger difference than the average (56%).

 
 
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