The STEP Skills Measurement Program

Cross-country, cross-sector

The World Bank's STEP Skills Measurement Program (STEP) is the first ever initiative to measure skills in low and middle-income countries. It provides policy-relevant data to enable a better understanding of skill requirements in the labor market, backward linkages between skills acquisition and educational achievement, personality, and social background, and forward linkages between skills acquisition and living standards, reductions in inequality and poverty, social inclusion, and economic growth.

The STEP program includes a household-based survey which introduces three unique modules:

  1. a direct assessment of reading proficiency and related competencies scored on the same scale at the OECD's PIAAC (International Assessment of Adult Competencies);
  2. self-reported information on personality, behavior, and time and risk preferences (e.g., Big Five, Grit, decision-making, and hostile attribution bias); and
  3. job-relevant skills that respondents possess or use in their job.

In addition, the survey collects data on household characteristics, educational attainment, training, health, employment history, and family background.

The STEP collection currently hosts data collected between March 2012 and July 2014 in Armenia, Bolivia, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Yunnan Province in China. In all countries, the target population is urban adults aged 15 to 64, whether employed or not. More countries will be added as data become available.

The STEP program also includes a newly designed employer survey, measuring the demand for skills. These data will be accessible in the platform in the near future.

All relevant survey documentation is provided along with the datasets. The "STEP Methodology Note" presents key concepts and describes the STEP survey instruments. It also provides guidance to use the data.