Survey highlights Britain's pluses and minuses

June 7, 1996

The United Kingdom outshines five international competitors at producing highly-qualified professionals, according to a survey by the Institute of Employment Studies.

But the proportion of the workforce with a top-level vocational, management or academic qualification is still expected to fall short of the 30 per cent target by the end of the century. The survey, The target for higher level skills in the international context, was commissioned by the National Advisory Committee for Education and Training Targets. It shows the proportion of the workforce qualified to degree level or its equivalent - officially, national vocational level 4 - is higher in the UK (23.4 per cent) than Germany (20.9), Taiwan (19.6), France (19.2), Australia (18.1) and Korea (17.8). But it is still lower than the two leading industrial giants, the United States (30 per cent) and Japan (28.1).

The UK also boasts the highest graduation rate of all the eight surveyed industrial nations. Its 56.8 per cent rate is marginally ahead of France (56.7) and well ahead of Australia (41.7), Japan (38.1) and Germany (21.8). The US (53.6 per cent) has the largest number of NVQ level 4 passes - 2.25 million compared with the UK's 472,000.

NACETT chairman Peter Davis said: "We can be rightly proud of these findings. The UK is in the world premier league when it comes to producing graduates and highly qualified professionals."

The target for higher level skills in an international context by N. Jagger, S. Morris and R. Pearson. IES Report 307, 1996. Available from BEBC Distribution, PO Box 1496, Poole, Dorset BH12 3YD. Pounds 35.00

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