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Growing skills in Europe: the changing skill profiles of France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK

Murray, Asa and Steedman, Hilary (1998) Growing skills in Europe: the changing skill profiles of France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. CEPDP (399). London School of Economics and Political Science. Centre for Economic Performance, London, UK. ISBN 0753012324

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This paper uses Labour Force and other national survey data to examine stock levels and changes in the stock of skills (educational and vocational qualifications) of the population over the period 1985-1996 for six European countries with particular reference to the low-skilled. National qualifications are classified using the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) levels 0-7. The low-skilled are defined as those who left education and training/gained no qualifications beyond the period of compulsory schooling. All countries have reduced the proportion in the low-skilled group over the period 1985-1996; however, countries which already had the lowest levels of low skills (Sweden, Germany) made the fastest progress. Younger (25-28) populations are better qualified than the working-age populations. Considerable differences still remain between countries in stocks of skills in both the young (25-28) and working-age population. These differences are greater at the lower end of the ISCED scale (0/1/2) than at the higher end (ISCED 5/6/7). In a number of countries (France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal) higher level educational and vocational qualifications (ISCED 3 and above) were gained at a relatively late age (22-25). In Sweden and the UK only small proportions of the low-skilled gained further qualifications after the age of 21. Proportions of low-skilled men and women in the working-age population have declined at similar rates in all countries but in Germany and the UK the proportion of women with low skills remains substantially higher. In France, Portugal and Sweden more women have a higher education (ISCED 5/6/7) than men. In Germany, the UK and the Netherlands the situation is reversed and the gap between men and women has remained largely unchanged over the period 1985-1996. On the basis of the growth rates of the past ten years, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany appear to be converging on similar skill profiles for the young (25-28) population in 2010 when 10 per cent or less will be in the low skills group. On present trends it will take considerably longer for the UK and Portugal to reduce the low-skilled group to the 10 per cent level.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1998 the authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2008 13:28
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 11:21

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