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Only 2 Job Categories Untouched by Computers: Policy Brief Highlights Importance of Digital Skills for the Future

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Just two categories of occupation in the United States remain unaffected by the use of ICT in the workplace, according to a new policy brief from the OECD. The document, titled ‘Skills for a Digital World’ and published recently, examines what skills are needed for a digital world.

Despite this, the paper highlights the PIACC Study of Adult Skills, which showed that in 28 OECD countries, on average, more than 50% of the population either have no computer skills, or are only able to do the most basic of tasks on a computer. This has very real costs for workers. According to research referenced in the paper, workers with the lowest levels of computer skills can earn almost 30% less than their more skilled colleagues, on average across the OECD. In England, the USA and Singapore, they can earn over 50% less.

The brief highlights three types of digital skills that apply to different joint profiles: technical and professional skills, ICT generic skills and ICT complementary ‘soft’ skills.

The OECD paper recommends that students’ digital skills are developed during initial education, and that they also have the opportunity to build problem solving, numeracy and literacy skills. It also argues that education systems should ensure that their programmes are adapted to changing skill needs and that employers make full use of new skills to boost productivity and competitiveness, including ensuring that they invest in their workers’ skills.

The paper can be downloaded from the website of the OECD.

Tags: Europe