OECD wants to Resolve Qualification Paradox

Employers around the globe are reporting difficulty in finding qualified personnel. On the other hand, unemployment has reached record highs in many countries, especially since the crisis. Solutions to this problem observed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development were discussed at the OECD ministers' meeting in May 2012.

The OECD appealed to the government of its member states, asking for increased investments in education and training including continuing education. When even the ability to read and do arithmetic is lacking, the path to unemployment or precariously low incomes is virtually pre-programmed according to the OECD. The dimensions of the noted lack of skills are significant. In the OECD average, fully 19 percent of persons aged up to 34 years have not finished school. The situation is somewhat better in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with 14, twelve and ten percent respectively.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría comments on the findings: "Skills are the currency of the 21st century. They have life-changing power and are the motor that drives the economy. Governments have to invest in the skills people need to perform the work of tomorrow – and they must do so more efficiently than in the past."

Among other things, the ministers were encouraged to promote lifelong learning and to eliminate obstacles to training and continuing education. Mobility for workers across national borders also requires improvement. The message of the meeting is that the member states must not balance their budgets by cutting education under any circumstances.

The portal "http://softskills.oecd.org", which provides access to data on skills in 40 countries and was compiled with the help of the Pearson Foundation, went online on 21 May 2012.

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