The world of work is changing. Digitalisation, automation and globalisation are having a profound impact on the type and quality of jobs that are available and the skills required to perform them. The extent to which individuals, firms and economies can reap the benefits of these changes will depend critically on the ability of individuals to maintain and acquire relevant skills and adapt to a changing labour market over their working careers.

Career guidance for adults is a fundamental policy lever to motivate adults to train and help address the challenges brought about by rapidly changing skill needs. Such services are particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, as many low-skilled adults risk losing their jobs and require assistance to navigate their career options in the changed labour market.

To explore this issue, the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs has undertaken an ambitious programme of work on the functioning, effectiveness and resilience of adult career guidance systems across countries. As part of this project, the OECD carried out an online survey in 11 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States) to better understand the user experience of adults with career guidance, and any barriers adults might face in accessing these services. This report focusses on the results for Germany as well as on additional qualitative data collection focused on low-qualified adults. It also builds on the OECD’s earlier reports Career Guidance for Adults in a Changing World of Work and Continuing Education and Training in Germany and leverages information on career guidance policies collected through a questionnaire sent to Ministries of Employment and Education and numerous interviews with key stakeholders.

This report was prepared by Karolin Killmeier from the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, under the supervision of Glenda Quintini (Skills team manager) and Mark Keese (Head of the Skills and Employability Division). Useful comments were provided by colleagues in the Skills and Employability Division in the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs.

This report is published under the responsibility of the Secretary General of the OECD. It was carried out with financial assistance from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The views expressed in this report should not be taken to reflect the official position of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation or OECD member countries.

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