Finland’s adult population is ranked among the most skilled in the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, which assesses the proficiency of adults from age 16 onwards in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. About 166,000 adults aged 16-65 were surveyed in 24 countries and sub-national regions, including 22 OECD member countries.
The results of the survey show that adults in Finland and Japan have the largest shares of top-performers in terms of skills. Finland has the highest average numeracy proficiency among young adults (16–24 year-olds), and the second highest score among all adults (19–65 year-olds). Finland also scores highly for proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments among adults. Finland has the second highest score for literacy proficiency among adults, and more than double the average proportion of adults at the highest literacy proficiency levels.
According to the survey, high scores mean that adults can perform, for example, multiple-step operations to integrate, interpret, or synthesise information from complex or lengthy texts that involve conditional and/or competing information. They can also analyse and engage in complex reasoning about quantities and data, statistics and chance, spatial relationships, change, proportions and formulae and perform tasks involving multiple steps and select appropriate problem-solving strategies and processes. The survey describes these skills as “key information-processing competencies” that are relevant to adults in many social contexts and work situations.
The survey also highlights the success of vocational education and training for adults in Finland. Each year, more than 1.7 million Finnish adults, or over 60% of the adult population, participate in adult education, vocational education and apprenticeship training, leading to better employment prospects and a greater capacity among adults to adapt to the labour market. Finland also has the second highest score for readiness to learn and key information-processing skills in adult education.
Source: OECD Skills Outlook 2013