There is no evidence that skill levels "collapsed" during the global economic crisis, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum.
Although the mismatch between what schools and colleges are producing and what employers want has become more pronounced since the crisis, it already existed before 2008, according to the report. "For the same reason, contrary to what some commentators believe, current record-high unemployment rates cannot be attributed to skills mismatch," it states.
The report, Matching Skills and Labour Market Needs, goes on to say that the more worrying phenomenon is employees being overqualified for their jobs.
About 21 per cent of workers in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries report that they have better qualifications than those required for their positions, with just 13 per cent being underqualified.
Overqualification has been steadily increasing in developed countries. The report warns that this can have a "scarring" effect on career prospects as people's qualifications go unused.
The report says that all those involved in education and training, including education providers, companies, trade unions and governments, must reinforce the links between education and employment if the skills mismatch is to be reduced.