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Press Statement


22 February 2018

Educational Attainment Thematic Report

Employment rate increases as education level rises
  • People with a third level qualification had an employment rate of 85% in Q2 2017, compared with a rate of 35% for those with primary/no formal education
  • Those with primary/no formal education were over four times more likely to be unemployed (14%) when compared to those with a third level qualification (3%)
  • The number of people with a third level qualification is continuing to rise. In Q2 2017, 45% of 25-64 year olds had a third level qualification, compared to 36% in Q2 2009
  • The early school leavers’ rate among 18-24 year olds was 5% in Ireland in Q2 2017
  • Ireland had the fourth highest rate, at 53%, of third level qualifications among people aged 30-34 in the EU in 2016
  • Go to release: Educational Attainment Thematic Report 2017

    The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (22 February 2018) published the Educational Attainment Thematic Report 2017. Labour force participation rates, employment rates and unemployment rates are presented for the different levels of educational attainment. Statistics for all countries in the European Union (EU) are also presented for key indicators, such early school leavers and third level attainment, to see how Ireland compares to the rest of the EU.

    Commenting on the report, Statistician Helen McGrath said:

    "This report provides an overview of education attainment from a national as well as a European perspective.

    Educational attainment impacts on employment outcomes. Labour force participation rates clearly increased as the level of education attainment increased. In Q2 2017, those with a third level qualification were more than twice as likely to be in the labour force (87%) compared to those with at most primary level education (41%).

    Gender differences in educational attainment are evident. Females were less likely to be classified as early school leavers. Females were more likely to have a third level qualification, as 60% of females aged 30-34 had a third level qualification compared to 46% of males of the same age group. However females were less likely to be employed compared to males, although this gap narrows as the level of education increases.

    The early school leaver rate in Ireland has improved. Ireland was ranked seventh lowest in the EU on this indicator in 2016, compared to sixteenth lowest in 2009.”

    For further information contact:

    Helen McGrath (+353) 21 453 5108 or Paul M Crowley (+353) 21 453 5090

    or email

    -- ENDS --