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Measuring essential skills of postsecondary students: Final report of the essential adult skills initiative

Continuous learning lies at the heart of thriving in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The skills required for most jobs are evolving rapidly but our adult education and training systems are lagging behind. While 35% of the skills demanded for jobs across industries will change by 2020, at least 1 in 4 workers in OECD countries is already reporting a skills mismatch with regards to the skills demanded by their current jobs. Thus, enabling and empowering workers to transform and update their skills is a key concern for businesses and societies across the globe. In order to create a robust and inclusive adult education and training system, leaders from across business, government and civil society need to start laying a common foundation through strategic and coordinated action. This White Paper lays out key pathways for change and illustrates successful examples of implementation to inspire broad-based transformation. It is the outcome of a Dialogue Series in the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work, drawing upon submissions by leaders and experts who engaged in the dialogue, as well as the latest thinking from international organizations, think tanks, businesses and other stakeholders.