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Executive summary: Investing in skills pays off: the economic and social cost of low-skilled adults in the EU

Low skilled adults represent a vulnerable segment of the population. Evidence shows that being low skilled is often associated with a set of negative consequences both at the individual and social level: lower earnings and employment rates, lower quality of health, wellbeing and life satisfaction, lower civic and social engagement, higher probability of involvement in criminal activities, and so forth. This is why empowering low skilled adults by means of promoting their upskilling and/or re-skilling is associated with large social and economic benefits not only for the individuals and their families, but also for the economy as a whole.

The soon to be published Cedefop study Investing in skills pays off: the economic and social cost of low-skilled adults in the EU provides an estimate of the individual and social value in monetary terms of a faster increase of the general level of skills in the Member States as compared to the current trend. Results clearly show the potential benefits of a (possible) public policy aimed at reducing the share of low skilled adults in the EU over the next decade.

This study also shows that formal education alone cannot explain all the different dimensions of the low skilled phenomenon. Indeed, the low skilled population is a very heterogeneous group, comprised by different subpopulations with different characteristics and needs. Effective policy actions need to recognise and target the different needs and characteristics of the low skilled subpopulations.

Please have a look at the executive summary of the report. The full publication will be published in 2017.


Executive summary: Investing in skills pays off

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