We know that there is already quite a high level of adult education activities going on in Singapore. For example, the Adult Training Survey conducted by the Ministry of Manpower Singapore (MOM) reported a training participation rate of 48.5% among the resident labour force in the 12-month period ending June 2019 (MOM, 2020b). What we do not know is where Singapore stands internationally in terms of training participation. Using data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), this paper compares Singapore’s training participation rate among PIAAC participating countries. A logistic regression model is also employed to examine the determinants affecting training participation in the different countries. The dependent variable is whether the respondent has taken part in any of the formal (i.e. leading to a qualification) and non-formal (i.e. does not lead to a qualification) structured training activities in the last 12 months for job/work-related reasons. The explanatory variables are the usual human capital variables (i.e. highest qualification level and literacy proficiency scores), personal characteristics (i.e. age and gender) and employment variations (i.e. establishment size). A special interest in the PIAAC data is the availability of the respondents’ skills proficiency scores, which allows an alternative measure of human capital besides the highest qualification attained. For comparison, we have included other Asian countries (South Korea, Japan), Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway Sweden), other European countries (United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands) and the United States. Our study has identified some interesting international comparisons in training participation. Firstly, our study shows that participation in adult education varies across countries. In addition, while establishment size and literacy proficiency generally have a positive relationship with the participation in job/work-related structured training, these relationships also vary across countries. For example in Denmark, training participation rate is generally high even among adults with low literacy proficiency. On the other hand, adults in medium-sized establishments are more likely to participate in job/work-related structured training in Finland.
Keywords: training, adult education, PIAAC, skills.