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Iceland's skills snapshot


Developing the relevant skills

  • How well does Iceland’s education system perform? In the 2009 PISA tests of 15-year-olds, Iceland performs above the OECD average in reading (rank 16) and mathematics (rank 18), and slightly below the OECD average in science (rank 28).1
  • Does Iceland invest enough in education and training? Iceland spent 8.1% of its annual income on education in 2009, compared to the OECD average of 6.2%.2

Supplying skills

  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation in Iceland 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%.3The participation rate for prime-age women (aged 25-54) is above the OECD average at 85% in 2011 (OECD average 71%).4   
  • To what extent are Iceland’s older workers supplying their skills to the labour market? In 2011, 83.8% of people aged 55 to 64 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 57.8%.5  

Using skills

  • How smooth is the transition from school to work for Iceland’s youth? The employment rate of Iceland’s youth in 2011 was 62.5%, compared with the OECD average of 39.3%.6 In 2011, the unemployment rate of Iceland’s youth was 14.4%, a relatively low rate compared with the OECD average of 16.2%.7


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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