Low educational attainments continue to penalise people in many OECD countries

Education is a gateway to employment and in almost all OECD countries educational attainment levels continue to rise, with many countries showing impressive gains in university qualifications in particular, according to data in the 2006 edition of the OECD’s annual publication Education at a Glance.
But while more than one third of students across OECD countries – and around 50% in some countries - - now obtain university degrees – a persistently large share of young people do not complete secondary school, today’s baseline for successful entry into the labour market. On average across OECD countries, only 56% of adults without upper secondary qualifications are in employment. Of those who are, 26% earn one-half or less than one-half of the national median earnings. While many countries have seen steeply rising benefits from university education, including some of those where university education has expanded most, people who have not completed upper secondary school, and particularly women, continue to face serious labour-market penalties.
Education at a Glance 2006 can be purchased in paper or electronic form through the OECD’s Online Bookshop (see link below).