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Adult competencies and employment outcomes among older workers in the United States: An analysis of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies

A growing segment of the US workforce – older workers – face challenges such as a greater chance of being unemployed for a longer period of time than younger workers and skill obsolescence in contemporary societies. In an age of fast-paced economic and technological change, ongoing investment in human capital in the form of skill training represents a potential strategy for improving older workers’ employment prospects. However, empirical evidence is lacking on the relationship between basic skill competencies and employment outcomes for older workers in general. This study analyzed nationally representative data of adults aged 45 to 65 years (n = 2,169) from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. Literacy skills were used as the main measure of competencies. Results from multinomial logistic regression identified statistically significant positive associations between literacy skills and employment among older workers. Implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed.