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Denmark's skills snapshot


Developing the relevant skills

  • How well does Denmark’s education system perform? In the 2009 PISA tests of 15-year-olds, Denmark performs slightly above the OECD average in reading (rank 24) and mathematics (rank 19), and slightly below the OECD average in science (rank 26).1
  • Does Denmark invest enough in education and training? Denmark spent 7.9% of its annual income on education in 2009, compared to the OECD average of 6.2%.2
  • How much are Denmark citizens undertaking further education? In 2008, 38% of Denmark citizensparticipated in continuing non-formal education compared to the OECD average of 34%.3
  • How equal is access to opportunities for further training in Denmark? In 2006, 63% of people aged 25-64 with a tertiary-level education participated in formal and/or non-formal education, compared with 30% for people in the same age group with below upper secondary education.4

Supplying skills

  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation in Denmark through strengthening labour force participation? In 2011, 88% of people aged between 25 and 54 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 81%.5 The participation rate for prime-age women (aged 25-54) is above the OECD average at 85% in 2011 (OECD average 71%).6   
  • To what extent are Denmark’s older workers supplying their skills to the labour market? In 2011, 63.2% of people aged 55 to 64 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 57.5%.7  

Using skills

  • How smooth is the transition from school to work for Denmark’s youth? The employment rate of Denmark youth in 2011 was 57.6%, compared with the OECD average of 39.3%.8 In 2011, the unemployment rate of Denmark’s youth was 14.2%, a relatively low rate compared with the OECD average of 16.2%.9
  • Are the qualifications of Denmark’s workers well matched with the requirements of their jobs? In 2005, 33% of Denmark’s workers were over-qualified for their jobs (against theOECD average of 25%), and 19% were under-qualified (against the OECD average of 22%).10 Over-qualified (under-qualified) workers are those who have a higher (lower) qualification than the most common qualification of all other workers in the same occupation.


Key recommendations from the OECD Skills Strategy

A country can develop the relevant skills by encouraging and enabling people to learn throughout life; fostering international mobility of skilled people to fill skills gaps; and promoting cross-border skills policies.

A country can activate the supply of skills by encouraging people to offer their skills to the labour market and retaining skilled people in the labour market.

A country can put skills to effective use by creating a better match between people’s skills and the requirements of their job and increasing the demand for high-level skills.

For more information, see the:

OECD Policy Map on Skills | OECD Skills Strategy | Skills Strategy: Overview


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