Countries, employers and individuals need a clear idea of how labour markets and economies are changing and how people are meeting the demand for skills in the 21st century. People with low skills face a greater risk of economic disadvantage. They are more likely to be unemployed and suffer from poor health.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey of adult skills (PIAAC) aims to provide some insights into how skills are being developed and used in 24 countries. The first findings of the survey were published in October 2013. They show that the young are more literate, but proficiency in literacy peaks at around 30 years of age.

This reflects that most formal learning is done early in life and that skill development in lifelong learning falls markedly with age. This is worrying for Europe, which has an ageing workforce that still needs to keep up with technological and organisational developments.

Cedefop is working closely with the OECD on developing indicators to measure development and use of skill based on PIAAC data, and will host a workshop with the organisation on 4-6 December 2013 (Thessaloniki, Cedefop premises).

Cedefop Director James Calleja said: ‘Cedefop is committed to developing with the OECD new indicators on skills in VET. We will use the survey data to investigate skill requirements of today’s jobs and to improve our understanding of how the labour market will look like in the foreseeable future. Our objective is to help young people acquire relevant skills and older workers to tap the necessary education and training programmes and qualifications to keep themselves employable. Skills and qualifications are prerequisites to employment.’

Notes to editors

• PIAAC – Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies
• Countries included in the survey: Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Northern Ireland), United States and two partner countries – Cyprus and Russia. Data collected between August 2011 and March 2012 in most participating countries.
• A second round of the survey started in 2012 involving nine additional countries: Chile, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia and Turkey. Data will be collected in 2014 and results released in 2016.

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