Launch of a new working paper and upcoming webinar on OECD major project on career readiness

The OECD working paper Career Ready? How schools can better prepare young people for working life in the era of Covid-19 is now available.

The paper reviews academic literature that analyses national longitudinal datasets evidencing teenage career-related indicators of better than expected adult employment outcomes. It then draws on PISA2018 data to see how countries compare and explores variations by social characteristics. The analysis is influenced by Arjan Apparadui’s conception of the Capacity to Aspire, and sees indicators as evidence of young people’s access to the resources that allow them to demonstrate critical agency through their transitions. The paper is a follow up to Dream Jobs? Teenagers’ career aspirations and the future of work.

Abstract: The focus of this working paper is on how secondary schools can optimise young people’s preparation for adult employment at a time of extreme labour market turbulence. By reviewing academic analysis of national longitudinal datasets, it is possible to identify indicators of comparative adult success. How teenagers (i) think about their futures in work and what they do to (ii) explore and (iii) experience workplaces within and outside of schools is consistently associated with better than expected employment outcomes in adulthood. Data-driven career guidance will take such indicators into account within delivery. Analysis of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 illustrates substantial variation in the extent of such career readiness between and within countries. Variation in career readiness is particularly associated with disadvantage. More effective education systems will ensure schools systematically address inequalities in teenage access to information and support in preparing for working life.

The paper is limited in that it the current academic literature is overwhelmingly from the US, UK and Australia. In a new project also launching this week, the OECD will broaden the evidence base and create new data-driven tools for policy makers and practitioners to make use of universal indicators of career readiness.

The 'Career Readiness in the Pandemic Project' launches with a webinar with Andreas Schleicher, Jennifer Mckenzie (National Centre for Guidance in Education, Ireland) and Anthony Mann on Friday December 18 at 2 pm CET:


Over the next twelve months, the OECD will:

  • Publish two further working papers exploring longitudinal evidence from OECD and national longitudinal datasets across a wide range of countries
  • Publish eight guides for practice drawing out practical insights from the research
  • Create a new online repository of key research and practice examples
  • Hold an online conference in the autumn of 2021
  • Create data-driven tools for policy makers and practitioners to enhance provision

To join the project mailing list, please email .
The OECDwill also be raising awareness of the work on twitter - @OECDEduSkills and @AnthonyMannOECD.