The Impact of Low Skills on Labour Market Engagement in the International Survey of Adult Skills 2012

Rebecca Wheater, Jack Worth

11 December 2014

This report is available to download from the BIS website

The International Survey of Adult Skills is an international study led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It assesses adults’ skills in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments, and collects background information about participants through a questionnaire. In the UK, England and Northern Ireland participated in the 2013 study. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned NFER to conduct some additional analysis following publication of the main report in September 2013.

This report focuses on how low skills are related to labour market engagement and productivity in England. OECD’s 2012 Survey of Adult Skills found that although England’s performance was similar to the average of other participating OECD countries for literacy and below the OECD average for numeracy,

  • England and Northern Ireland were more efficient at using these skills than many other countries
  • England and Northern Ireland were more efficient at using these skills than many other countries
  • Workers in England and Northern Ireland also used skills such as reading and numeracy in work more frequently than the OECD average and
  • Workers in England and Northern Ireland had relatively high productivity.

Other analyses from the 2013 survey:

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