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TitleReport - Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives: A Strategic Approach to Skills Policies
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Page 1

Better Skills
Better Jobs
Better Lives
A StrAtegic ApproAch to SkiLLS poLicieS

skills.oecd: building the right skills
and turning them into better jobs and better lives

Page 57

polICy lever 1: developIng relevanT skIlls

Better SkillS, Better JoBS, Better liveS: A StrAtegic ApproAch to SkillS policieS © OECD 2012 55

Table 1.2 [2/2]
developing relevant skills: key questions, indicators and resources

key questions Selected indicators for self-assessment Selected further reading and policy examples
Does my country provide
high-quality education and
training?

• Distribution of foundation skills in the adult
population by qualification levels
(oecD Adult Skills Survey, available in 2013)

• Performance in PISA over time
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932359948

• youth unemployment compared to total
unemployment

(OECD Labour Force Statistics Database)

• Starting Strong III – A Quality Toolbox for Early Childhood
Education and Care 2011, oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/document/0/0,3746,
en_2649_39263231_49317504_1_1_1_1,00.html

• PISA 2009 Results: Learning Trends: Changes in Student
Performance Since 2000 (volume v) 2010, oecD publishing.
www.oecd.org/document/60/0,3746,
en_32252351_46584327_46609852_1_1_1_1,00.html

• Strong Performers, Successful Reformers in Education:
Lessons from the United States, 2010, oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/document/13/0,3746,
en_2649_35845621_46538637_1_1_1_1,00.html

• OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training ,
Learning for Jobs – Country Studies, oecD publishing.
www.oecd.org/edu/learningforjobs

• Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society: Volume 1:
Special Features: Governance, Funding, Quality; Volume 2:
Special Features: Equity, Innovation, Labour Market,
Internationalisation 2008, oecD publishing.
www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3746,
en_2649_39263238_36021283_1_1_1_1,00.html

What is the incidence of skills
inequity and inequality
in my country?

• upper secondary graduation rates
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932459926

• Trends in equity
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932360005

• Percentage of “population at risk” among children
without an immigrant background and young
immigrants

www.oecd.org/document/15/0,3746,
en_2649_33729_38002191_1_1_1_1,00.html

• “the output of educational institutions and the impact
of learning” (chapter A), in Education at a Glance 2011:
OECD Indicators, oecD publishing.
www.oecd.org/edu/eag2011

• Equity and Quality in Education – Supporting
Disadvantaged Students and Schools, 2012,
oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/document/42/0,3746,
en_2649_39263231_49477290_1_1_1_1,00.html

• No more Failures: Ten Steps to Equity in Education, 2007,
oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/document/54/0,3746,
en_2649_39263231_39676214_1_1_1_1,00.html

Allow skilled people to enter the country

What is the net migration and
proportion of foreign-born
individuals in my country’s
population?

• Stock of foreign and foreign-born populations
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932440375

• net migration as a percentage of the total resident
population

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932446759

• “trends in Migration Flows and in the immigrant
population” (chapter A), in International Migration
Outlook 2011, oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/migration/imo

Is my country attractive to
foreign students who may
want to stay on?

• Student mobility in tertiary education
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932461541

• Percentage of international students changing status
and staying on

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932461598

• “Access to education, participation and progression”
(chapter c), in Education at a Glance 2011: OECD
Indicators, oecD publishing.
www.oecd.org/edu/eag2011

• “trends in Migration Flows and in the immigrant
population” (chapter A), in International Migration
Outlook 2011, oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/migration/imo

How many skilled immigrants
return to their country of
origin? How many skilled
emigrants come back?

• Doctorate holders returning to their country of origin
www.oecd.org/dataoecd/44/36/49867563.xlsx

• OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011
(chapters 1-4), oecD publishing.

www.oecd.org/document/10/0,3746,
en_2649_34409_39493962_1_1_1_1,00.html#toc

• careers of Doctorate holders indicators (cDh), oecD/
UNeSco institute for Statistics/eurostat data collection
on careers of doctorate-holders, 2010.
www.oecd.org/sti/cdh

Encourage cross-border skills policies

Does my country facilitate
cross-border higher education?
Does my country invest in skills
formation abroad?

(Indicators not yet available)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932359948
www.oecd.org/document/0/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_49317504_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/0/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_49317504_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/60/0,3746,en_32252351_46584327_46609852_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/60/0,3746,en_32252351_46584327_46609852_1_1_1_1,00.html
http://www.oecd.org/document/13/0,3746,en_2649_35845621_46538637_1_1_1_1,00.html
http://www.oecd.org/document/13/0,3746,en_2649_35845621_46538637_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/edu/learningforjobs
www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3746,en_2649_39263238_36021283_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3746,en_2649_39263238_36021283_1_1_1_1,00.html
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932459926
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932360005
www.oecd.org/document/15/0,3746,en_2649_33729_38002191_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/15/0,3746,en_2649_33729_38002191_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/edu/eag2011
www.oecd.org/document/42/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_49477290_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/42/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_49477290_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/54/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_39676214_1_1_1_1,00.html
www.oecd.org/document/54/0,3746,en_2649_39263231_39676214_1_1_1_1,00.html
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932440375
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932446759
www.oecd.org/migration/imo
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932461541
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932461598
www.oecd.org/edu/eag2011
www.oecd.org/migration/imo
www.oecd.org/dataoecd/44/36/49867563.xlsx
www.oecd.org/document/10/0,3746,en_2649_34409_39493962_1_1_1_1,00.html#toc
www.oecd.org/document/10/0,3746,en_2649_34409_39493962_1_1_1_1,00.html#toc
www.oecd.org/sti/cdh

Page 58

polICy lever 1: developIng relevanT skIlls

56 © OECD 2012 Better SkillS, Better JoBS, Better liveS: A StrAtegic ApproAch to SkillS policieS

Notes

1. handel (forthcoming). See also levy (2010) who finds that since 1959 in the United States, the task composition of employment has
shifted dramatically towards tasks requiring higher-order cognitive skills, such as expert thinking and complex communication, while
routine tasks, particularly routine cognitive tasks that are easily computerised, are now declining sharply.

2. oecD (2011a).

3. Michaels, Natraj and van reenen (2010).

4. handel (forthcoming).

5. oecD (forthcoming), OECD Employment Outlook.

6. ceDeFop (2008a) for projections for the european area.

7. haskel and Martin (1993).

8. tang and Wang (2005).

9. Bennet and Mcguinness (2009).

10. Foley and Watts (1994).

11. lucifora and origo (2002).

12. Different sources of information can be used to construct measures of skills shortages (Quintini, 2011). employers’ own assessments
of skills shortages constitute one of the most direct ways of assessing the size of the phenomenon. employers’ views are often collected
in surveys conducted by employer associations, recruitment agencies or other institutions. these surveys explicitly question employers
on the existence of skills shortages and on what jobs they have more difficulties filling. however, they often take different formats across
countries and are repeated infrequently, making international comparisons very difficult. the Manpower indicator presented in Quintini
(2011) has the advantage of being collected regularly and in the same format across a number of countries where the company is active.

13. World Bank (2010).

14. For example, the eU in its europe 2020 Strategy has set targets of 40% tertiary attainment for all eU countries.

15. giguère (2008); Froy and giguère (2010b); Froy, giguère and Meghnagi (2011).

16. oecD / iMhe: www.oecd.org/edu/imhe/regionaldevelopment.

17. one way to build flexibility is to establish rapid-approval procedures for one-off training programmes at the local level, which can
then be mainstreamed at a later date if required. For example, in the US state of texas, local educators can get approval for a new course
rapidly, usually within a month, if it is classified as a ‘local needs course’. the course will be assessed after three years to ascertain
whether there is a state-wide need and whether it should be mainstreamed (Froy, et al., 2009; Froy and giguère, 2010).

18. AfDB (2010).

19. Short-term Job creation: lessons learned” – iFi coordination platform of the Deauville partnership (Washington Dc. - April 2012).

20. oecD (2010a).

21. oecD (2010b); oecD (2008a).

22. oecD (2008b).

23. Desjardins and Warnke (2012).

24. oecD (2011a).

25. ceDeFop (2003).

26. oecD (2005a).

27. Martinez-Fernandez (2008); Dalziel (2010); kubisz (2011).

28. clough (2012).

29. Martinez-Fernandez (2008); ceDeFop (2011).

30. Martinez-Fernandez and Sharpe (2010).

31. kubisz (2011).

32. oecD (forthcoming), Leveraging Skills and Training in SMEs.

www.oecd.org/edu/imhe/regionaldevelopment

Page 113

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Please cite this publication as:
OECD (2012), Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives: A Strategic Approach to Skills Policies, OECD Publishing.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264177338-en

This work is published on the OECD iLibrary, which gathers all OECD books, periodicals and statistical databases.
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Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives
A StrAtegic ApproAch to SkillS policieS

Skills have become the global currency of the 21st century. Without proper investment in skills, people languish on
the margins of society, technological progress does not translate into economic growth, and countries can no longer
compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global society. But this “currency” depreciates as the requirements
of labour markets evolve and individuals lose the skills they do not use.

the global economic crisis, with high levels of unemployment, in particular among young people, has added urgency
to fostering better skills. At the same time, rising income inequality, largely driven by inequality in wages between
high- and low-skilled workers, also needs to be addressed. the most promising solution to these challenges is investing
effectively in skills throughout a lifetime: from early childhood, through compulsory education, and during the working life.

the oecD Skills Strategy provides a strategic framework to help countries understand more about how to invest in skills
in a way that will transform lives and drive economies. it will help countries to identify the strengths and weaknesses
of their existing national skills pool and skills systems, benchmark them internationally, and develop policies for improvement.
in particular, the strategy provides the foundations upon which governments can work effectively with all interested
parties – national, local and regional government, employers, employees, and learners.

Contents

introduction

policy lever 1: Developing relevant Skills

policy lever 2: Activating Skills

policy lever 3: putting Skills to effective Use

the Way Forward

ISBN 978-92-64-17729-1

91 2012 16 1P

2012

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