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OECD: 'Upward mobility difficult in Austria'

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OECD: 'Upward mobility difficult in Austria'
An Austrian Matura student. Photo: APA/Neubauer
13:10 CEST+02:00
Austria has poor upward mobility when it comes to education, particularly for women, according to the OECD's annual Education at a Glance report. The report says that family background can have a significant impact on educational attainment.

In Austria only 29% of 25-64 year-old non-students have a higher educational attainment than that of their parents.

Austria ranks 21st out of the 23 countries for which data is available in this category. Germany and the Czech Republic come behind Austria. In Finland, Belgium and Korea more than 55 percent of children go on to gain a higher level of education than their parents.

The report notes that Austrian men are considerably more upwardly mobile in educational attainment than women (33% versus 25%), in contrast to the large majority of OECD countries, in which slightly more women (40%) than men (38%) attain a higher education level than their parents.

It seems to be particularly difficult in Austria to go on to university if one’s parents ended their schooling before completing upper secondary education. 

On the plus side Austria’s vocational education system scored well. In 2012, 76% of students who were enrolled in upper secondary education participated in pre-vocational  or vocational programmes, the second highest percentage in the OECD.

Austria has a low share of young people (15-29 year olds) neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET): 9.7% compared with an OECD average of 15.0%.

The study also points to that fact that literacy skills are unsatisfactory for younger and older Austrians alike. A million people in Austria have trouble reading - and two thirds of these are women. 

This is bad news as Austria is one of the countries in which low levels of skills has a significant impact on career chances.

Employment rates for people scoring at literacy proficiency Level 4 or 5 (89%) are almost 17 percentage points higher than among those scoring at Level 2 (73%).

High levels of literacy are more likely in Finland, Sweden and Japan, the report states. 

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