Returns to skills around the world (2013)

Wage return on numeracy skills varies across different countries. In the UK it is relatively high - around 24%

Countries often vary in the degree to which specific skills lead to higher wages and better employment chances. Using data from the OECD, senior economists from the universities of Stanford and Munich analysed the degree to which numeracy skills lead to higher earnings. In the UK, the numeracy differential is 24% - which is particularly high.

This measure breaks from the norm, not using school attainment to try and understand the lifetime earnings that a person receives as a result of their skills. Instead the value is calculated using the OECD's PIAAC dataset which accounts for (and measures) the basic skills of adults across OECD countries. By comparing their results with older - school achievement based - measures of returns on skills, the authors  conclude that measuring skills only by people's education level leads to a large under-estimation of the returns on skills.

Hanushek, Eric A., Guido Schwerdt, Simon Wiederhold, and Ludger Woessmann. 2013. Returns to Skills Around the World. OECD Education Working Papers. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.