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Skills Matter

Additional 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 have been growing substantially. Based on the results from the 33 countries and regions that participated in the 1st and 2nd round of the Survey of Adult Skills in 2011-12 and in 2014-15, this report describes adults’ proficiency in three information-processing skills, and examines how proficiency is related to labour-market and social outcomes. It also places special emphasis on the results from the 3rd and final round of the first cycle of PIAAC in 2017-18, which included 6 countries (Ecuador, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru and the United States). 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 three information-processing skills: literacy, numeracy and problem-solving in technology-rich environments.

English Also available in: French

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Executive Summary

Technological change, particularly the increasing presence of information and communications technology (ICT) in all areas of life, together with changes in the structure of employment has led to a growing demand for higher-level cognitive skills involving the understanding, interpretation, analysis and communication of complex information. Employment is shifting away from jobs involving routine cognitive and manual tasks and towards jobs involving expert thinking and complex communication. Governments need a clearer picture, not only of how labour markets are changing, but of how well-equipped their citizens are to participate in, and benefit from, increasingly knowledge-based economies. The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), helps provide that picture. The survey was designed to provide insights into how well adult populations can perform the key skills society needs, and how they are using them at work and at home. It assesses the proficiency among adults (16-65 year-olds) in three key information-processing skills: literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

English Also available in: French

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