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Netherlands'skills snapshot


Developing the relevant skills

  • How well does the Dutch education system perform? In the 2009 PISA tests of 15-year-olds, the Netherlands is among the top performing OECD countries in reading (rank 10), mathematics (rank 11) and science (rank 11).1
  • Does the Netherlands invest enough in education and training? The Netherlands spent 6.2% of its annual income on education in 2009, compared to the OECD average of 6.2%.2
  • How much are Dutch citizens undertaking further education? In 2008, 42% of Dutch citizensparticipated in continuing non-formal education compared to the OECD average of 34%.3
  • How equal is access to opportunities for further training in the Netherlands? In 2008, 65% of people aged 25-64 with a tertiary-level education participated in formal and/or non-formal education, compared with 25% for people in the same age group with below upper secondary education.4
  • Should more be done to prevent skills shortages? Although the unemployment rate rose between 2007 and 2011,5 there was no rise in recruitment difficulties (17% of Dutch employers reported recruitment difficulties in both 2007 and 2011).6,7

Supplying skills

  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation in the Netherlands through strengthening labour force participation? In 2011, 87.5% of people aged between 25 and 54 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 81%.8 The participation rate for prime-age women (aged 25-54) is above the OECD average at 82% in 2011 (OECD average 71%).9   
  • To what extent are the Netherlands’ older workers supplying their skills to the labour market? In 2011, 58.6% of people aged 55 to 64 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 57.8%.10 

Using skills

  • How smooth is the transition from school to work for the Netherland’s youth? The employment rate of the Netherlands’ youth in 2011 was 63.6%, compared with the OECD average of 39.3%.11 In 2011, the unemployment rate of the Netherlands’ youth was 7.7%, less than half the OECD average of 16.2%.12
  • Are the qualifications of the Netherlands’ workers well matched with the requirements of their jobs? In 2005, 41% of the Netherlands’ workers were over-qualified for their jobs (against theOECD average of 25%), and 26% were under-qualified (against the OECD average of 22%).13 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

Watch this video on strong performers in the Netherlands


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