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Getting Skills Right: Good Practice in Adapting to Changing Skill Needs

A Perspective on France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom

image of Getting Skills Right: Good Practice in Adapting to Changing Skill Needs

This report identifies effective strategies to tackle skills imbalances, based on five country-specific policy notes for France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom. It provides a comparative assessment of practices and policies in the following areas: the collection and use of information on skill needs to foster a better alignment of skills acquisitions with labour market needs; the design of education and training systems and their responsiveness to changing skill needs; the re-training of unemployed individuals; and the improvement of skills use and skills matching in the labour market. The assessment is based on country visits, desk research and data analysis conducted by the OECD secretariat in the five countries reviewed. Examples of good practice from other countries are also discussed.

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Executive summary

Changing skill demands brought about by broad-based trends like globalisation, technological change and rapid population ageing have contributed to skill imbalances across OECD countries. Many employers report difficulties finding workers with the skills they require, and a high share of adults are working in jobs that are not well matched to their qualifications. While some degree of mismatch between the supply and demand for skills is inevitable, the cost of persistent skill imbalances for individuals, employers and society is substantial. Skill imbalances can lead to lower earnings and job satisfaction for workers, stunted productivity, and reduced economic growth. In light of these costs, the present report explores the role that policy can play in bringing about a better match between skill supply and skill demand, based on five country-specific policy reports covering France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom (see OECD, 2017a, b, c, d and e, forthcoming).

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