The way we live and work has changed profoundly – and so has the set of skills we need to participate fully in and benefit from our hyper-connected societies and increasingly knowledge-based economies. The extent to which their citizens are equipping themselves with the skills demanded in the 21st century, low skills proficiency face a much greater risk of economic disadvantage, a higher likelihood of unemployment, and poor health. These social and economic transformations have, in turn, changed the demand for skills as well. With manufacturing and certain low-skill tasks increasingly becoming automated, the need for routine cognitive and craft skills is declining, while the demand for information-processing and other high-level cognitive and interpersonal skills is growing.
The Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) was designed to provide insights into the availability of some of these key skills in society and how they are used at work and at home. It directly measures proficiency in several information-processing skills – namely literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. The main findings of the survey and of the analysis of results are presented below.