24.06.2015

One fifth of adults in OECD countries lack basic ICT skills

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are playing an important role in the life of many people nowadays. The OECD report on digital skills of adults reveals the importance of computer skills in modern work life.

The OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) have launched a survey to research the influence of workers ICT-skills on the employment rate and income. The report ‘Adults, Computers and Problem Solving – What’s the Problem?’ was presented on 23rd of June 2015.

New technology, old workers

The study shows that only one out of three adults has high ICT-skills. More than 20% of all adults have basically no ICT skills, and among the age group of 55-65 every second fails to perform the most basic ICT-tasks.

The researchers also found a key factor, which strikingly influences the proficiency in solving problems in ICT-usage: the literacy skills. The better people are able to read, the higher were their test scores on ICT-skills.

Turning emails into money

People who are lacking basic computer skills are about 20% more likely to be unemployed compared to those with ICT-skills. But the results are also observable on the paychecks of workers: being able to solve basic ICT problems results in a 6% higher wage, compared to those without any ICT-skills.

The same applies for workers who are writing emails in their jobs. Workers who are writing emails in their jobs have a 9% higher income than those who are just writing emails infrequently.

The survey in full length can be found at OECD website. Andreas Schleicher analyzes the results of the survey in OECD blog.

Text: Felix MeyerPhotos: OECD

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