OECD Skills Outlook 2021

Learning for Life

Lifelong learning is key if individuals are to succeed in labour markets and societies shaped by megatrends such as increases in life expectancy, rapid technological changes, globalisation, migration, environmental changes and digitalisation, as well as sudden shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic. In a fast-changing and uncertain world, lifelong learning can help individuals adapt and become resilient to external shocks. While government support remains valuable to ensure that major structural changes do not lead to deep tears in the social fabric, creating a culture of lifelong learning gives individuals themselves agency to manage change. This calls for evidence on the best ways to support lifelong learning journeys, so that individuals can “learn how to learn”. This edition of the OECD Skills Outlook 2021 explores how policies, particularly those that govern skills development and use, can best promote lifelong learning for all. The report exploits comparative quantitative data to highlight the key role played by socio-emotional and motivational factors in shaping successful engagement with lifelong learning. While such factors are essential to sustain lifelong learning in general, the pandemic has further increased their relevance.

Published on June 15, 2021Also available in: French

view previous editions


Reader’s guide
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Key facts and figures (infographic)
Attitudes and dispositions: The foundations of lifelong learning
Lifelong learning trajectories: The transition from compulsory schooling to young adulthood
Promoting interest and participation in adult learning
Navigating skill demands in turbulent times
Powered by OECD iLibrary