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Portugal's skills snapshot


Developing the relevant skills

  • How well does Portugal’s education system perform? In the 2009 PISA tests of 15-year-olds, Portugal performs below the OECD average in reading (rank 27), mathematics (rank 33) science (rank 32).1
  • Does Portugal invest enough in education and training? Portugal spent 5.9% of its annual income on education in 2009, compared to the OECD average of 6.2%.2
  • How much are Portuguese citizens undertaking further education? In 2008, 22% of Portuguese citizensparticipated in continuing non-formal education compared to the OECD average of 34%.3
  • How equal is access to opportunities for further training in Portugal? In 2007, 64% of people aged 25-64 with a tertiary-level education participated in formal and/or non-formal education, compared with 16% for people in the same age group with below upper secondary education.4

Supplying skills

  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation in Portugal 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 84.5% in 2011 (OECD average 71%).6   
  • To what extent are Portugal’s older workers supplying their skills to the labour market? In 2011, 53.7% of people aged 55 to 64 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 57.8%.7  

Using skills

  • How smooth is the transition from school to work for Portugal’s youth? The employment rate of Portugal’s youth in 2011 was 27%, compared with the OECD average of 39%.8 In 2011, the unemployment rate of Portugal’s youth was 30%, nearly double the OECD average of 16%.9
  • Are the qualifications of Portugal’s workers well matched with the requirements of their jobs? In 2005, 33% of Portugal’s workers were over-qualified for their jobs (against theOECD average of 25%), and 11% 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 (in Portuguese) | Skills Strategy: Overview

Watch this video on strong performers in Portugal


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