Skills in New Zealand and around the world: Survey of Adult Skills

Publication Details

This report looks at how the skills in of New Zealand adults compare to other countries and how they have changed over time. Also explored is how skills in New Zealand vary by age, ethnicity, gender and migration status.

Author(s): Ministry of Education and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Date Published: June 2016

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.


  • New Zealand adults' literacy and problem solving skills are on average among the highest in the OECD
  • New Zealand adults' numeracy skills are on average higher than the OECD average
  • Although there are significant differences in skills between ethnic groups, average literacy and numeracy skills have been rising faster among Māori and Pasifika than in the total New Zealand population
  • Overseas-born New Zealanders have on average higher literacy and numeracy scores than overseas-born people in any other country
  • While there are no differences in average literacy and problem solving skills between men and women, men have higher numeracy skills on average than women