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CSO statistical release, 22 February 2018, 11am

Educational Attainment Thematic Report


Summary of main results, Q2 2017
 Persons aged 25-64
Highest level of education attained% of totalEmployment rateUnemployment rate
Primary or below63514
Lower secondary125710
Higher secondary23707
Post leaving certificate13747
Third level45853
Total persons aged 25 to 64 100746

Employment rate increases as education level rises

Figure 1 Employment and unemployment rates for those aged 25-64, classified by highest level of education attained, Q2 2017
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Higher educational attainment levels are associated with higher employment rates. Persons aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification were more than twice as likely to be employed (85%) than those with no formal education/primary education (35%) in Q2 2017. See Figure 1.

Higher educational attainment levels are linked with lower unemployment rates. Those with primary education/no formal education were over four times more likely to be unemployed in Q2 2017 (14%) when compared with those who had a third level qualification (3%).

The proportion of those with a third level qualification was 45% in Q2 2017, while one in sixteen (6%) reported that they had primary education/no formal education. 

Educational level by age 

Younger age groups reported the highest levels of third level attainment with over half of the 25-34 and 35-44 year olds in this category (53% and 52% respectively) compared to just over a quarter (27%) of 60-64 year olds. This reflects increased levels of participation in third level education over time.  See Table 2 and Figure 2. 

The gap between males and females is more evident in younger age groups. Females aged 20-24 and 25-34 years olds were far more likely to have a third level qualification in Q2 2017 with rates of 33% and 59% respectively. The equivalent rates for males were 24% for the 20-24 age group and 47% for the 25-34 age group. However there was little difference in older age groups with a 2 percent difference between males and females aged 55-59 (32% and 34%) and no difference for the 60-65 age group (both at 27%).

A fifth of persons (20%) aged 60-64 years old had primary education/no formal education. There was little difference between male and female rates within this age group (20% and 19% respectively).