Skills Matter

Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills

image of Skills Matter

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.

English Also available in: French

Adults' proficiency in key information-processing skills

This chapter describes the level and distribution of proficiency in the three information-processing skills assessed – literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments – among adults in the participating countries and economies. To help readers interpret the findings, the results are linked to descriptions of what particular scores mean in concrete terms. In addition to presenting the distribution of scores across countries/economies, the chapter also shows the variation in scores among adults in individual countries/economies, and the relationship between the average proficiency level and the degree of variation in scores within a given country. The chapter describes the relationship among the three proficiencies and compares results from this survey with the two previous surveys of adult skills: the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL).

English Also available in: French


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error