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 first 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. Another related report, The Survey of Adult Skills: Reader’s Companion, Second Edition, describes the design and methodology of the survey and its relationship to other international assessments of young students and adults.
- 28 June 2016
Overview: Why skills matter
The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), assesses adults’ (16-65 year-olds) proficiency in three key information-processing skills: literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. It provides a rich source of data for policy makers, analysts and researchers concerned with issues such as the development and maintenance of a population’s skills, the relationships between the education system and the labour market, the efficiency of the labour market in matching workers and jobs, inequality, and the social and labour market integration of certain subgroups of the population, such as immigrants. Beyond offering an insight into the level and distribution of information-processing skills across the population as a whole and for key subgroups, it provides information on the benefits these skills provide in the labour market and in everyday life. Information about what the survey assesses and how it was carried out can be found in Box 1.1.