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Brazil's skills snapshot


Developing the relevant skills

  • How well does Brazil’s education system perform? In the 2009 PISA tests of 15-year-olds, Brazil performs below the OECD average in reading (rank 53), mathematics (rank 57) and science (rank 53).1
  • Does Brazil invest enough in education and training? Brazil spent 5.5% of its annual wealth on education in 2009, compared to the OECD average of 6.2%.2
  • Should more be done to prevent skills shortages? In 2011, 57% of Brazil’s employers reported recruitment difficulties.2,3 This suggests that more should be done in Brazil both through the education system and by employers themselves in providing training to improve the supply of skills required in the labour market.

Supplying skills

  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation in Brazil through strengthening labour force participation? In 2012, the labour force participation rate of Brazil was 57.2%.4 The participation rate for prime-age women (aged 25-54) is slightly below  the OECD average at 70% in 2011 (OECD average 71%).5
  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation among Brazil’s youth? The participation rate for youth (aged 15/16-24) was 54.8% in 2011.6 In 2009, the rate of Brazil’s youth neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET) was 18.6%, (on par with the OECD average of 18.6%), of which 6.5% were unemployed and 12.1% were inactive.7
  • To what extent are Brazil’s older workers supplying their skills to the labour market? In 2011, 49.2% of people aged 55 to 64 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 57.8%.8         

Using skills

  • How smooth is the transition from school to work for Brazil’s youth? In 2012, the unemployment rate of Brazil’s youth (aged 15/16-24) was 15.6%, a relatively low rate compared with the OECD average of 17.1%.9
  • Are the qualifications of Brazil’s workers well matched with the requirements of their jobs?  In 2005, 32% of Brazil’s workers were over-qualified for their jobs (against theOECD average of 25%), and 8% 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 Brazil


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