Annex A. OECD Skills Strategy Dashboard

This annex concerns the OECD Skills Strategy Dashboard. The objective of this dashboard is to present an overview of the performance of the skills system in OECD Member countries. By presenting the relative position of countries on key skills outcomes, the dashboard provides a general overview of countries’ skills systems’ strengths and weaknesses. The dashboard is the starting point for analysis in OECD Skills Strategy projects. This annex describes the characteristics, presents the indicators and describes the underlying methods for calculating indicators.


The dashboard is the result of internal consultation and analysis of core indicators used in the National Skills Strategy Projects. It presents a simple, intuitive overview of the outcomes of skills systems that is easy to interpret and which provides a quick impression of a country’s skills performance across the pillars of the OECD Skills Strategy (“developing relevant skills” and “putting skills to effective use”). The dashboard applies a broad definition of skills by presenting foundational skills, problem-solving skills and broadness of skill sets, and considers both economic and social outcomes. A total of 38 key outcome indicators were selected and grouped into 18 aggregated indicators (see the full list in Table A.1). For the OECD Skills Strategy 2019 update, all OECD Member countries are included in the dashboard. However, given that the majority of indicators are based on PIAAC, there are various gaps for countries that did not participate in this survey, and for some countries, only regions are included, including Flanders for Belgium, and England and Northern Ireland for the United Kingdom.

Indicator selection

The selection of indicators followed a process whereby a long-list of the most commonly used indicators in NSS reports was gradually reduced to a short-list of core indicators. This process built on the principle that the indicators describe the core outcomes of the different pillars of the skills system. In addition, these indicators express outcomes in terms of level, trend, distribution and equity. They are comparatively easy to interpret and based on OECD sources, with the most recent data.

Method for calculation of aggregate indicators

To develop aggregate indicators that represent the relative position of countries on key outcomes of the skills system, a number of calculations were made on the collected data. To describe the relative position across countries, a score for each indicator was calculated ranging from zero to ten, with zero for the weakest performance and ten for the strongest performance in the list. This resulted in an indicator that allows for comparisons between different types of indicators (e.g. averaging performance of literacy scores and educational attainment rates). The resulting scores were normalised in such a way that better performance results in a higher score. Subsequently, an unweighted average of the indicators was calculated for each of the aggregates, and these scores were then ranked. The final ranking was separated into five groups of equal size, ranging from “Top 20% performer” to “Bottom 20% performer”.

Table A.1. OECD Skills Strategy Dashboard: Pillars, aggregates and underlying indicators

Pillar and aggregates


Developing relevant skills


How skilled are youth?

Reading (PISA1), mean score, 2015


Mathematics (PISA1), mean score, 2015


Science (PISA1), mean score, 2015

Are the skills of youth improving?

PISA1 average 3-year trend (reading, mathematics, science)2

Are the skills of youth being developed inclusively?

PISA1 ESCS parity index, science performance, 2015

How many young adults attain tertiary education?

Tertiary education attainment rate, 25-34 year-olds, 2017

How skilled are young tertiary-educated adults?

Literacy (PIAAC3), mean score, tertiary educated 25-34 year-olds, 2012/15


Numeracy (PIAAC3), mean score, tertiary educated 25-34 year-olds, 2012/15


Problem solving (PIAAC3), % Level 2/3, tertiary educated 25-34 year-olds, 2012/15

How inclusive is tertiary education?

Share tertiary educated with both parents less than tertiary, 2012/15

How strong are foundational skills of adults?

Literacy (PIAAC3), mean score, 2012/15


Numeracy (PIAAC3), mean score, 2012/15


Problem solving (PIAAC3), % Level 2/3, 2012/15

Do adults have a broad set of skills?

Percentage of adults with a broad set of skills (PIAAC3) (Level 3-5 in literacy and numeracy and Level 2/3 in problem solving), 2012/15

Is there a strong culture of adult education?

Formal and/or non-formal adult education participation rate (PIAAC3), last 12 months, 2012/15


Willing to participate in adult education (PIAAC3), percentage of the population, 2012/15


Barriers to participation (PIAAC3),percentage of people wanting to participate who didn't, 2012/15

Are the skills of adults being developed inclusively?

High-low educated parents, adjusted literacy difference (PIAAC3), 2012/15

Putting skills to effective use


How well are skills activated in the labour market?

Employment rate, working age, 2017


Labour force participation rate, 2017


Youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), percentage of 15-24 year-olds, 2017

How inclusive is the labour market?

Gender (male-female), employment rate difference, 2017


High-low educated, employment rate difference, 2017

How well aligned are skills with the labour market?

Variation across occupations in Occupational Shortage index indicators, 2015/174 (Skills for Jobs database)

Do workplaces make intensive use of skills?

Reading at work (PIAAC3), score, 2012/15


Numeracy at work (PIAAC3), score, 2012/15


Information and communication technology (ICT) at work (PIAAC3), score, 2012/15

Do people use their skills intensively in daily life?

Reading at home (PIAAC3), score, 2012/15


Numeracy at home (PIAAC3), score, 2012/15


ICT at home (PIAAC3), score, 2012/15

Is the use of skills at work improving?

Reading skills use at work adjusted difference young (16-25) – prime age (26-54) (PIAAC3), 2012/15


Numeracy skills use at work adjusted difference young (16-25) – prime age (26-54) (PIAAC3), 2012/15


ICT skills use at work adjusted difference young (16-25) – prime age (26-54) (PIAAC3), 2012/15

Are firms designing workplaces to use skills effectively?

High-performance workplace practices, percentage of jobs, 2012/15 (PIAAC3)

Is skills use stimulated by innovation?

Researchers, per 1 000 employed, 2016


Triadic patent families, performance index (STI5 Outlook), 2016


International co-authorship, performance index (STI5 Outlook), 2016

International co-invention, performance index (STI5 Outlook), 2016

1. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

2. The average trend is reported for the longest available period since PISA 2006 for science, PISA 2009 for reading, and PISA 2003 for mathematics.

3. Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC).

4. See for methodology.

5. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

Note: Indicators without a specific source between brackets are OECD indicators from OECD Data (

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