millennials gen z features

Shocking data reveals Millennials lacking skills across board


The PIAAC notes that after studying the data collected from all countries, simply providing more education may not hold the answer to skilling-up today’s students.

“If we expect to have a better educated population and a more competitive workforce, policy makers and other stakeholders will need to shift the conversation from one of educational attainment to one that acknowledges the growing importance of skills and examines these more critically,” writes Kirsch. “How are skills distributed in the population and how do they relate to important social and economic outcomes? How can we ensure that students earning a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree acquire the necessary skills to fully participate in our society?

In the ETS Center for Research on Human Capital and Education’s brief, the aim of this data and call-to-action is not to “bemoan the nation’s declining status,” but instead suggest essential ways in which skills interact with broader social and economic forces.

“A nation with some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world houses a college-educated population that scores among the lowest of the participating OECD nations,” emphasizes the ETS brief. “Millennials who will form the backbone of this nation’s future are not poised to lift us out of this predicament; in fact, the lack of adequate skills in this population has become a challenge for us to confront.”

The brief concludes by explaining that the demand for more skilled workers may translate to a demand for workers with “very high levels of education” and perhaps very particular kinds of education and technical expertise. “Even those with some post-secondary education, or even many with a four-year baccalaureate degree, may face two distinct and critical challenges: One is that their skill levels, despite post-secondary education, may be inadequate, particularly in a global labor market. The PIAAC results speak directly to this. The other is that the market may be demanding ,and only highly remunerating, very particular technical skills that merely a select few can supply.”

In this scenario, concludes the brief, “advantage is concentrated among a few, while disadvantage is shared widely.”

For much more detailed information on the ETS brief, including breakdowns of data by demographics and further economic implications, read “America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future.”

For more information on PIAAC’s 2013 release of adult skills data, click here.

For more information on PIAAC and NCES’ release of more nuanced data from 2014, click here.