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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Education@cso.ie Helen McGrath (+353) 21 453 5108
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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Educational Attainment Thematic Report

2018

Early school leavers and other persons aged 18-24 by labour market status, Q2 2018
 Labour market status (%)
 EmployedUnemployedInactive
Early school leaver281854
Other persons aged 18-2456935
All persons aged 18-2455936

Employment rates lower for early school leavers

Figure 1 Early school leavers and other persons aged 18-24 by labour market status, Q2  2018
go to full release

Early school leavers were less likely to engage in the labour market in Q2 2018. Early school leavers are defined as persons aged 18 to 24 whose highest level of education attained is lower secondary or below and have not received education since. An early school leaver is twice as likely to be unemployed than another person aged 18-24 who is not an early school leaver. In Q2 2018, 18% of early school leavers were unemployed compared to 9% of other persons aged 18-24.  Conversely, other persons aged 18-24 were twice as likely to be employed than early school leavers. See Figure 1 and Headline table.

Higher educational attainment levels are linked with higher employment rates. Persons aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification are more than twice as likely to be employed (85%) than those with no formal education/primary education (35%) in Q2 2018. Conversely, those with no formal education/primary education were more than three times more likely to be unemployed (14%) than those with a third level qualification (4%). The proportion of those aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification was 47% in Q2 2018, while one in twenty (5%) reported that they had primary education/no formal education only. See Summary table. 

Summary table Educational Attainment Q2 2018
Highest level of education attainedPersons aged 25-64
% of totalEmployment rateUnemployment rate
Primary or below53514
Lower secondary12617
Higher secondary21715
Post leaving certificate15766
Third level47854
Total persons aged 25 to 64 100755

The results presented in this report incorporate adjustments to the historic LFS data series to take account of revisions to enable comparability with the new LFS for headline indicators. Data in this report also uses the new NUTS regional groupings which were introduced in Q1 2018. 

Due to changes to the questionnaire, the interview mode, the introduction of a new sample, data processing changes and other methodological enhancements there are changes in the levels of some series. Therefore, the Q2 2018 data may not be directly comparable to the Q2 2017 series, and users should therefore note this when examining annual changes

Further information is available in the background notes and information notes accompanying recent LFS releases.

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 have a third level qualification (56% and 54% respectively) compared to just three in ten (29%) 60-64 year olds. This reflects increased levels of participation in third level education over time. See Table 2.1 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 more likely to have a third level qualification in Q2 2018 with rates of 32% and 60% respectively.  The equivalent rates for males were 22% for the 20-24 age group and 52% for the 25-34 age group. This gender gap continues in older age groups but to a lesser extent. There was a 4 percentage point difference between the genders at the 55-59 age group and a 5 percentage point difference between the 60-64 age group.

Just over one in six persons (16%) aged 60-64 years old had primary education as their highest level of educational attainment or no formal education. Again there is a difference by gender where 17% of males aged 60-64 years had primary education/no formal education, compared to 13% of females.

Primary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level
15-19 years21542220
20-24 years14551227
25-34 years26221456
35-44 years39191654
45-54 years614221543
55-59 years1020231433
60-64 years1521231229

Over the last ten years, there has been an increase in the proportion of those aged 25-64 years old with a third level education, from 37% in Q2 2009 to 47% in Q2 2018. This has been accompanied by a steady decrease in the proportion with primary education/no formal education from 13% in Q2 2009 to 5% in Q2 2018. See Figure 3.

The percentage of males with primary education/no formal education halved in the last ten years from 14% in Q2 2009 to 6% in Q2 2018. The corresponding proportion of females dropped from 11% to 5%.

Primary or belowLower secondaryHigher secondaryPost leaving cert.Third Level
20091315231237
20101114241239
20111014241339
20121014221341
2013913231343
2014713231543
2015613231444
2016612221445
2017512221447
2018512211547

Education level by nationality

Irish nationals had a lower educational attainment profile than non-Irish nationals. In Q2 2018, over four in ten Irish nationals (45%) aged 25-64 years old had a third level qualification. In comparison, the other EU-15 states (excluding Ireland and the UK) had a third level attainment rate of 83% and other nationalities (non EU-28 nationalities) were at 70%. The only nationality group with a slightly lower rate of third level attainment than Irish nationals was the group of nationals from the EU-15-EU-28 member states at 44%. See Table 4 and Figure 4.

Primary or belowLower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird Level
Irish713231444
United Kingdom511181156
EU-15 excl. Ire & UK2111680
EU-15 to EU-2844371738
Other3219670
Primary or belowLower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird Level
Irish613211545
United Kingdom315201745
EU-15 excl.Ire & UK0110683
EU-15 to EU-2826292044
Other2319670

Education level by region

In Dublin, almost three in five persons (58%) aged 25-64 years old had a third level qualification in Q2 2018, but just over a third (35%) have a third level qualification in the Midlands. See Table 5 and Map 1.1.

Almost one in ten persons (9%) aged 25-64 years old in the Border region had a primary level education or no formal education in Q2 2018. Conversely, only 3% of persons had a primary education level or below in the South-West. See Table 5 and Map 1.2.

Education level and the labour force 

Employment rates for those aged 25-64 years old increased as the level of education attained increased and this relationship is stronger for females than for males.  In Q2 2018, females aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification were over three times more likely to be employed (82%) compared to females with a primary education or no formal education (26%). On the other hand, males aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification were twice as likely to be employed (90%) than those with a primary education or no formal education (44%). See Table 5.1 and Figure 5.1.

Unemployment rates for those aged 25-64 years old clearly decreased as the level of education attained increased. In Q2 2018, males aged 25-64 years old with a primary education or below were over three times as likely to be unemployed (15%) compared to males with a third level qualification (4%). The corresponding values for females in Q2 2018 were 11% and 4%. See Table 5.2 and Figure 5.2.

The labour force participation rate is the number of persons in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the total population.  In Q2 2018, females aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification were over two times as likely to be in the labour force (85%) compared to females with a primary education or below (29%). The corresponding values for males in Q2 2018 were 93% and 51% respectively. See Table 5.3.

Highest level of education attainedMaleFemaleTotal
Primary or below442635
Lower secondary734161
Higher secondary816171
Post leaving cert.836876
Third level908285
All education levels826975
Highest level of education attainedMaleFemaleTotal
Primary or below151114
Lower secondary787
Higher secondary565
Post leaving cert.666
Third level444
All educational levels555

Early school leavers

The latest available EU figures showed that in 2017 11% of all 18-24 year olds in the EU-28 member states were classified as early school leavers. The Irish equivalent rate was 5% in the same period. This ranked the country fourth lowest among EU member states. See Table 6.1 and Figure 6.1.

In Q2 2018, 5% of those aged 18-24 were defined as early school leavers, a decrease from 14% in Q2 2004. In Q2 2018, females aged 18-24 years old were less likely than males to be classified as early school leavers (6% versus 3%) – this three percentage-point gap has been consistent for the last five years. See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.2.

Early school leavers as a % of persons aged 18-24EU-28 2017 average
Croatia3.110.6
Slovenia4.310.6
Poland510.6
Ireland5.110.6
Lithuania5.410.6
Greece610.6
Czechia6.710.6
Netherlands7.110.6
Luxembourg7.310.6
Austria7.410.6
Sweden7.710.6
Finland8.210.6
Cyprus8.510.6
Latvia8.610.6
Denmark8.810.6
Belgium8.910.6
France8.910.6
Slovakia9.310.6
Germany 10.110.6
United Kingdom10.610.6
Estonia10.810.6
Hungary12.510.6
Portugal12.610.6
Bulgaria12.710.6
Italy1410.6
Malta17.710.6
Romania18.110.6
Spain18.310.6

You can access this data on the Eurostat website.

Male Female Total
2004171014
200516912
200617913
200715812
200815711
200915711
201014912
201113811
201212810
20131168
2014856
2015856
2016746
2017745
2018635

Over half (54%) of all early school leavers were not economically active compared to just over a third (35%) of other persons aged 18-24 in Q2 2018. Approximately three in ten (28%) early school leavers were employed in Q2 2018 while just under two in ten were unemployed (18%). Early school leavers had a much lower rate of employment in Q2 2018 compared with other persons aged 18-24 (28% compared to 56%). The unemployment rate for early school leavers was twice that for other persons aged 18-24 (18% compared to 9%). See Table 6.3.

Secondary level educational attainment of 20-24 year olds

The latest available EU figures showed that in 2017, 83% of all 20-24 year olds in the EU-28 member states had attained at least a higher secondary level of education. The corresponding figure for Ireland was 94%, ranking the country second among EU member states. See Table 7.1 and Figure 7.1.

In Q2 2018, over nine out of ten (95%) of those aged 20-24 years old had attained at least a higher secondary level of education in Ireland. The proportion has increased from 84% in Q2 2000. In Q2 2018, females aged 20-24 years old were more likely than males to have attained at least a higher secondary level education (96% versus 93%). See Table 7.2 and Figure 7.2.

Persons with at least a higher secondary education as a % of persons aged 20-24 EU-28 2017 average
Spain71.783.2
Denmark74.583.2
Luxembourg75.383.2
Germany77.583.2
Malta78.083.2
Portugal78.583.2
Romania79.883.2
Italy81.883.2
Netherlands81.983.2
Hungary84.383.2
Estonia85.083.2
Sweden85.683.2
United Kingdom85.683.2
Belgium85.783.2
Bulgaria85.883.2
Latvia87.383.2
Finland87.383.2
Austria87.483.2
France87.883.2
Slovakia88.983.2
Czechia89.283.2
Cyprus89.883.2
Poland90.683.2
Slovenia91.283.2
Lithuania91.383.2
Greece92.483.2
Ireland94.283.2
Croatia96.383.2

You can access this data on the Eurostat website.

Male FemaleTotal
2000808784
2001818985
2002808984
2003828986
2004828986
2005839087
2006819086
2007849187
2008849288
2009859389
2010869390
2011879290
2012879290
2013899492
2014929593
2015929594
2016929694
2017939694
2018939695

Tertiary educational attainment of 30-34 year olds

The latest available EU figures (2017) show that 40% of 30-34 year olds had a third level qualification. Ireland had the third highest third level educational attainment level at 54%, behind Cyprus (56%) and Lithuania (58%). See Table 8.1 and Figure 8.1.

The proportion of the 30-34 age group with a third level qualification has increased. In Q2 2018, 57% of persons aged 30-34 years old had a third level qualification. In Q2 2000, the equivalent figure was 28%. See Table 8.2 and Figure 8.2.

From 2003, a gap between the genders has emerged, resulting in three in five females (60%) with a third level qualification compared to just over half (53%) of males as of Q2 2018. 

Persons with a third level qualification as a % of persons aged 30-34EU-28 2017 average
Romania26.339.9
Italy26.939.9
Croatia28.7/td>39.9
Hungary32.139.9
Bulgaria32.839.9
Malta33.539.9
Portugal33.539.9
Germany34.039.9
Czechia34.239.9
Slovakia34.339.9
Austria40.839.9
Spain41.239.9
Greece43.739.9
Latvia43.839.9
France44.339.9
Finland44.639.9
Poland45.739.9
Belgium45.939.9
Slovenia46.439.9
Netherlands47.939.9
UK48.339.9
Estonia48.439.9
Denmark48.839.9
Sweden51.339.9
Luxembourg52.739.9
Ireland53.439.9
Cyprus55.939.9
Lithuania58.039.9

You can access this data on the Eurostat website.

Male FemaleTotal
2000262928
2001293130
2002313432
2003363535
2004374139
2005384340
2006364641
2007384943
2008415347
2009445650
2010465751
2011455751
2012465953
2013475953
2014466254
2015456153
2016476054
2017486355
2018536057

Students

Approximately three in five persons (62%) aged 15-24 years old stated that they were a student in Q2 2018. This is an increase from 2010 where just over half (52%) of persons aged 15-24 years old reported that they were a student. See Table 9 and Figure 9.

Almost all persons aged 15-17 years were classified as students in Q2 2018 (98% of 15 year olds, 97% of 16 year olds and 94% of 17 year olds). The largest drop for a single year increase in age in the proportion classified as students was observed between those aged 18 years (80%) and those aged 19 years (61%).

Year of AgeMaleFemale
159898
169499
179296
187684
195963
205961
214848
223835
232019
241213
Table 1 Percentage of persons aged 15-64, classified by sex and the highest level of education attained, Q2 2016 - Q2 2018
     % of persons
 Highest level of education attained NFQ 201620172018
Males aged 15 to 64
 Primary or belowNone/1/2877
 Lower Secondary3181817
 Higher Secondary4/5262626
 Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6131213
 Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10353737
      Higher Certificate or equivalent6221
      Ordinary Degree or equivalent7788
      Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8171818
      Postgraduate qualification9/10999
 All males aged 15 to 64 100100100
Females aged 15 to 64
 Primary or belowNone/1/2656
 Lower Secondary3141413
 Higher Secondary4/5232324
 Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6131313
 Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10434544
      Higher Certificate or equivalent6322
      Ordinary Degree or equivalent7999
      Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8212122
      Postgraduate qualification9/10111212
 All females aged 15 to 64 100100100
All persons aged 15 to 64
 Primary or belowNone/1/2766
 Lower Secondary3161615
 Higher Secondary4/5252425
 Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6131313
 Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10394140
      Higher Certificate or equivalent6221
      Ordinary Degree or equivalent7888
      Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8192020
      Postgraduate qualification9/10101110
 All persons aged 15 to 64 100100100
Table 2 Highest level of education attained by persons aged 15-64, classified by age group, Q2 2016 - Q2 2018
% of persons
  Highest level of education attained  
       Third Level, of which: 
Primary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level (in total)Higher Certificate or equivalentOrdinary Degree or equivalentHonours bachelor degree or equivalentPostgraduate qualificationTotal
 NFQNone/1/234/54/5/66/7/8/9/106789/10 
YearAge group          
April to June 2016          
15-19 years175822200000100
20-24 years2449133326213100
25-34 years26231554392814100
35-44 years392015533122415100
45-54 years716231539391710100
55-59 years112125133128147100
60-64 years182223112727126100
All persons aged 15 to 64716251339281910100
April to June 2017          
15-19 years185822200000100
20-24 years1453113125213100
25-34 years26231456293114100
35-44 years392014543112416100
45-54 years5152215433101912100
55-59 years102022143429149100
60-64 years162223102927128100
All persons aged 15 to 64616241341282011100
April to June 2018          
15-19 years215422200000100
20-24 years1455122716182100
25-34 years262214561103015100
35-44 years391916542112616100
45-54 years6142215432102011100
55-59 years102023143328148100
60-64 years152123122928137100
 All persons aged 15 to 64615251340182010100
Table 3 Highest level of education attained for persons aged 25-64, classified by nationality, Q2 2016 - Q2 2018
% of persons
  April to June 2016
Highest level of education attained NFQ IrishNon - IrishUnited KingdomEU-15 excl. Ire & UKEU-15 to EU-28OtherAll nationalities
Primary or belowNone/1/27341426
Lower secondary31441223112
Higher secondary4/522231810331822
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6141413521714
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1043565482407245
     Higher Certificate or equivalent63333233
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent79111313101210
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent820262440163821
     Postgraduate qualification9/1011161427112012
All persons aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100
  April to June 2017
Highest level of education attained NFQ IrishNon - IrishUnited KingdomEU-15 excl. Ire & UKEU-15 to EU-28OtherAll nationalities
Primary or belowNone/1/26341335
Lower secondary31341114212
Higher secondary4/52123179351622
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6141211618614
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1045585883407447
     Higher Certificate or equivalent63231222
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7911149101210
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent822262641163722
     Postgraduate qualification9/1012181532122313
All persons aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100
  April to June 2018
Highest level of education attained NFQ IrishNon - IrishUnited KingdomEU-15 excl. Ire & UKEU-15 to EU-28OtherAll nationalities
Primary or belowNone/1/26230225
Lower secondary31361516312
Higher secondary4/521222010291921
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6151417620615
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1045564583447047
     Higher Certificate or equivalent62220212
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent79131116121210
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent823242036163523
     Postgraduate qualification9/1012181231142213
All persons aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100
Table 4 Highest level of education attained for persons aged 25-64, classified by sex and NUTS3 region1, Q2 2018
          % of persons
   NUTS3 region
 Highest level of education attained NFQBorderDublinMid-EastMidlandMid-WestSouth-EastSouth-WestWestAll
Males aged 25 to 64
 Primary or belowNone/1/21045778476
 Lower secondary3191016181321151414
 Higher secondary4/5211923262420212722
 Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6191013191921171515
 Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/10315742303731423743
      Higher Certificate or equivalent6311221121
      Ordinary Degree or equivalent7811106778109
      Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8122820172215231521
      Postgraduate qualification9/108171167810811
 Total males aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100100100
Females aged 25 to 64
 Primary or belowNone/1/2854655355
 Lower secondary3108910912989
 Higher secondary4/5201823262221222621
 Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6171114192018151115
 Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/10455950404444525051
      Higher Certificate or equivalent6312232222
      Ordinary Degree or equivalent791012879101310
      Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8242724212322262024
      Postgraduate qualification9/109201281110141414
 Total females aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100100100
All Persons aged 25 to 64
 Primary or belowNone/1/2955666365
 Lower secondary315912141116121112
 Higher secondary4/5201823262320222721
 Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6181114192019161315
 Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/10385846354138474347
      Higher Certificate or equivalent6312222222
      Ordinary Degree or equivalent79111177891210
      Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8182722192319251823
     Postgraduate qualification9/1091911799121113
 Total persons aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100100100
1 Please see background notes for details on the new NUTS3 regions.
Table 5.1 Employment rates of persons aged 25-64, classified by sex and highest level of education attained, Q2 2016 - Q2 2018
% of persons
 Highest level of education attained NFQ 201620172018
Male employment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2454244
Lower Secondary3707073
Higher Secondary4/5777981
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6818283
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10878990
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6848291
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7848688
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8879090
     Postgraduate qualification9/10909191
Total male employment rate 788082
Female employment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2252426
Lower Secondary3393941
Higher Secondary4/5595861
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6646468
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10798182
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6667467
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7747576
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8808183
     Postgraduate qualification9/10838586
Total female employment rate 656769
All persons employment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2363435
Lower Secondary3575761
Higher Secondary4/5686971
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6737376
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10828485
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6747877
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7798081
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8838586
     Postgraduate qualification9/10868788
 Total persons employment rate 727475
Table 5.2 Unemployment rates of persons aged 25-64, classified by sex and highest level of education attained, Q2 2016 - Q2 2018
% of persons
 Highest level of education attained NFQ 201620172018
Male unemployment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2211515
Lower Secondary313117
Higher Secondary4/51075
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6866
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10544
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6880
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7754
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8434
     Postgraduate qualification9/10433
Total male unemployment rate 865
Female unemployment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2171111
Lower Secondary31198
Higher Secondary4/5866
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/61096
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10634
     Higher Certificate or equivalent61359
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7535
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8534
     Postgraduate qualification9/10633
Total female unemployment rate 755
All persons unemployment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2191414
Lower Secondary313107
Higher Secondary4/5975
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6976
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10534
     Higher Certificate or equivalent61175
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7644
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8534
     Postgraduate qualification9/10533
 Total unemployment rate 865
Table 5.3 Labour force participation rates of persons aged 25-64, classified by sex and the highest level of education attained, Q2 2016 - Q2 2018
% of persons
 Highest level of education attained NFQ 201620172018
Male participation rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2574951
Lower Secondary3807978
Higher Secondary4/5858586
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6888788
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10929293
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6918991
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7909191
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8919394
     Postgraduate qualification9/10949494
Total male participation rate 868686
Female participation rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2302729
Lower Secondary3444245
Higher Secondary4/5646265
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6717172
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10838385
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6767774
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7787880
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8848486
     Postgraduate qualification9/10888789
Total female participation rate 707173
All persons particpation rate
Primary or belowNone/1/2454041
Lower Secondary3656465
Higher Secondary4/5757475
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/6807980
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/10878789
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6838381
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent7848485
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8878890
     Postgraduate qualification9/10909091
 Total participation rate 787879
Table 6.1 Early school leavers1 as a percentage of persons aged 18-24 in EU member states, classified by sex, 2017
    % of persons
 Country MalesFemalesTotal
EU-28 12911
EU-15 13911
 Austria967
 Belgium1079
 Bulgaria121413
 Croatia423
 Cyprus989
 Czechia777
 Denmark1169
 Estonia14711
 Finland1078
 France1179
 Germany11910
 Greece756
 Hungary121313
 Ireland645
 Italy171114
 Latvia1259
 Lithuania7*5
 Luxembourg1057
 Malta211418
 Netherlands957
 Poland645
 Portugal151013
 Romania181818
 Slovakia9109
 Slovenia634
 Spain221518
 Sweden878
 United Kingdom12911
Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat figures for Ireland are derived on an annual average for 2017 and so may differ slightly from the values in Table 6.2.
1 See background notes for definition of an early school leaver.
* Data not available
Table 6.2 Early school leavers1 as a percentage of 18-24 year olds, classified by sex, Q2 2004 - Q2 2018
% of persons
 200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Male 1716171515151413121188776
Female 1099877988655443
Total 141213121111121110866655
1 See background notes for definition of an early school leaver.
Table 6.3 Percentage of early school leavers1 and other persons aged 18-24, classified by labour market status, Q2 2010 - Q2 2018
  % of persons
  201020112012201320142015201620172018
Early school leaver
 Employed413130353129433428
 Unemployed374243393340232418
 In labour force787374746469665746
 Inactive222726263631344354
Other persons aged 18-24
 Employed525048504952575656
 Unemployed1817201815121299
 In labour force706868686464696565
 Inactive303232323636313535
All persons aged 18-24
 Employed514846494851575555
 Unemployed20202220161312109
 In labour force716868686464696564
 Inactive293232323636313536
1 See background notes for definition of an early school leaver and labour market (ILO employment) status.
Table 7.1 Percentage of persons aged 20-24 with at least a higher secondary education1 in EU member states, classified by sex, 2017
% of persons
 Country MalesFemalesTotal
EU-28 818683
EU-15 798582
 Austria859087
 Belgium838986
Bulgaria868686
Croatia969796
Cyprus889290
Czechia899089
 Denmark688175
Estonia818985
Finland868987
France869088
 Germany758078
Greece919492
 Hungary848584
 Ireland939694
 Italy788682
Latvia839287
Lithuania909391
Luxembourg698275
Malta748278
Netherlands788682
Poland899391
 Portugal748379
Romania808080
Slovakia908889
Slovenia899491
 Spain667772
Sweden858686
 United Kingdom838886
Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat figures for Ireland are derived on an annual average for 2017 and so may differ slightly from the values in Table 7.2.
1 See background notes for definition of "at least a higher secondary education".
Table 7.2 Percentage of 20-24 year olds with at least a higher secondary level education1, classified by sex, Q2 2010 - Q2 2018
% of persons
 201020112012201320142015201620172018
Male 868787899292929393
Female939292949595969696
All persons909090929394949495
1 See background notes for definition of "at least a higher secondary education".
Table 8.1 Percentage of persons aged 30-34 with a third level qualification1 in EU member states, classified by sex, 2017
    % of persons
 Country MalesFemalesTotal
EU-28 354540
EU-15  364540
 Austria384441
 Belgium415146
 Bulgaria264133
 Croatia223529
 Cyprus476456
 Czechia284134
 Denmark415749
 Estonia425648
 Finland375245
 France395044
 Germany343434
 Greece375144
 Hungary273832
 Ireland485954
 Italy203427
 Latvia325644
 Lithuania486858
 Luxembourg505653
 Malta323534
 Netherlands445248
 Poland365646
 Portugal264034
 Romania242926
 Slovakia274234
 Slovenia355946
 Spain354841
 Sweden455851
 United Kingdom465148
Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat figures for Ireland are derived on an annual average for 2017 and so may differ slightly from the values in Table 8.2.
1 See background notes for definition of a "third level qualification".
Table 8.2 Percentage of 30-34 year olds with a third level qualification1, classified by sex, Q2 2010 - Q2 2018
         % of persons
 201020112012201320142015201620172018
Male 464546474645474853
Female575759596261606360
All persons515153535453545557
1 See background notes for definition of a "third level qualification".
Table 9 Students1 as a proportion of population aged 15-24, classified by single year of age and sex, Q2 2010 - Q2 2018
          % of persons
 Year of age201020112012201320142015201620172018
Male students
 15999897969798989898
 16969898979797999594
 17919295959496959692
 18727576768080838276
 19535752616656576459
 20414649505446425259
 21343941403946404548
 22252130373730333238
 23131818182525231820
 2410101213131614912
 Total515457596160596061
Female students
 15989899989895989798
 16989899989998989899
 17979497979795979596
 18808181848589818684
 19636571696978706763
 20515659645856646061
 21404350514749495348
 22242329303933353135
 23121718212122201919
 248119131418161213
 Total545660626264636263
All students
 15999898979897989898
 16979898989897999797
 17949396969696969694
 18767779808284828480
 19576162656866646561
 20465154575651535660
 21374145464348454948
 22252229343832343137
 23121818202323221919
 2491110131317151113
 Total525559606162616162
1 Those who indicated that their principal economic status is "Student". See background notes for further information.

Background Notes

Purpose of survey

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) at the beginning of Q3 2017. The survey meets the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No. 577/98, adopted in March 1998, which requires the introduction of quarterly labour force surveys in EU member states.

The primary purpose of the LFS is the production of quarterly labour force estimates. Questions on educational attainment are included in the core LFS questionnaire each quarter. This report is based on those questions.

Updated data

Since the publication of the Educational Attainment Thematic Report 2017, the LFS dataset has been adjusted to mitigate the effect of the introduction of the LFS on the coherence of the historic data series. Scaling factors for regions, occupation groups and highest level of education completed were created and applied to the previously published LFS data. 

You can find greater detail in the following information notes: 

http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/in/lfs/informationnotice-labourforcesurveyquarter32017/ 

http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/in/lfs/informationnotice-labourforcesurveyquarter12018/ 

This report is based on both rounds of back-casted QNHS data which was also adjusted for the 2016 Census data.

Reference period

For this release, educational attainment results are presented for each year using data from Quarter 2 (i.e. April-June).

The change in the educational attainment series in Q2 2009 means that detailed results prior to Q2 2009 are not directly comparable with results from Q2 2009 onwards. Because of this, some results in this release are only presented from Q2 2009 onwards. For tables that are not affected by the change in series results are presented from Q2 2000 onwards or from whenever the data has been collected (e.g. from Q2 2004 onwards in the case of early school leavers).

Note on tables

Percentage breakdowns exclude cases where the interviewee did not state their educational attainment.

The sum of row or column percentages in the tables in this report may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Note on age ranges

Many international statistical organisations use the 15-64 years age range as a standard working age population. However, the majority of persons aged 15-24 years old are students and this cohort has been steadily increasing as most continue their studies into tertiary education. Data presented in this report will mainly focus on the educational attainment of the 25-64 year age group, unless otherwise specified.

Early school leavers

Early school leavers are defined as persons aged 18 to 24 whose highest level of education attained is lower secondary or below and have not received education (either formal or non-formal) in the four weeks prior to the survey.

Highest level of education attained

This classification is derived from a single question and refers to educational standards that have been attained and can be compared in some measurable way. The question is included in the core LFS questionnaire on an ongoing basis and is phrased as follows: “What is the highest level of education or training you have ever successfully completed?”

There are two methods of presenting results for educational attainment; the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

ISCED:

UNESCO developed the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to facilitate comparisons of education statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. The current revision of ISCED used in this release is ISCED 2011 (ISCED11).

For information on the ISCED11 classification, see:

http://uis.unesco.org/en/topic/international-standard-classification-education-isced

NFQ:

The NFQ was launched in 2003 and it is now the single structure mechanism for recognising all education and training in Ireland. All framework awards now have an NFQ Level, numbered from 1 to 10, which tells you about the standard of learning and an NFQ Award-Type which tells you about the purpose, volume and progression opportunities associated with a particular award. Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has responsibility to develop, promote and maintain the Irish NFQ.

In this release educational attainment results are presented using a descriptive name and the corresponding NFQ levels.

For information on the NFQ see:

http://www.qqi.ie/Articles/Pages/National-Framework-of-Qualifications-(NFQ).aspx

The classification of educational levels in the QNHS was revised in Q2 of 2009 in order to facilitate the linking of education categories to the NFQ, while also retaining links with the international education classification, ISCED. The change was made in the third level qualification categories to separate the attainment of Ordinary degrees from Honours Bachelor degrees. Because of this detailed results prior to Q2 2009 are not directly comparable with results from Q2 2009 onwards.

In previous educational attainment releases the educational attainment variable was presented using ISCED 1997 while, in this release, the response levels are grouped together into educational attainment levels using the NFQ. The table below gives education qualifications alongside the corresponding ISCED level, NFQ level and the educational attainment level reported in this release.

Table A1 Educational qualifications and corresponding ISCED 11 level, NFQ level and Educational attainment level

Education Qualification ISCED11 Level NFQ Level Educational Attainment Level
No formal education or training 0   Primary or below
Pre-primary education/Primary education (or FETAC Certificate at NFQ level 1 or 2) 100 1/2 Primary or below
Lower Secondary Junior Certificate 200 3 Lower secondary
Intermediate Certificate 200 3
Group Certificate 200 3
FÁS Introductory Skills Certificate 200 3
NCVA Foundation Certificate 200 3
FETAC Certificate at NFQ level 3 200 3
Equivalent Qualification at NFQ level 3 200 3
Transition Year 200   Lower secondary
Higher Secondary Leaving Certificate (Traditional) 304 4/5 Higher secondary
Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) 303 4/5
Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) 303 4/5
Equivalent Qualification at NFQ level 4/5 300 4/5
Technical or Vocational Secretarial 400 4/5 Post leaving cert 
Certificate in Hotel Operations  400 4/5
PLC (Post Leaving Certificate Course) 400 4/5
FÁS National Skills Certificate 400 4/5
FÁS Specific Skills Certificate 400 4/5
FETAC level Certificate at NFQ level 4 400 4
FETAC level Certificate at NFQ level 5 400 5
Equivalent qualification at NFQ level 4/5 400 4/5
Advance Certificate Completed apprenticeships 400 6 Post leaving cert 
Teagasc farming or horticulture Certificate/Diploma 400 6
National Craft Certificate 400 6
FETAC advanced Certificate at NFQ level 6 400 6
Equivalent Qualification at NFQ level 6 400 6
Higher Certificate National Certificate (NCEA/DIT/IOT) 500 6 Higher certificate and equivalent
Cadetship (army, air corps or naval service) 500 6
HETAC/DIT Higher Certificate at NFQ level 6 500 6
Equivalent qualification at NFQ level 6 500 6
Diploma National Diploma (HETAC/NCEA e.g. 3 year diploma) 500 7 Ordinary degree or equivalent
Bachelor Degree (DIT) 500 7
Equivalent qualification at NFQ level 7 600 7
Ordinary Bachelor Degree at NFQ level 7 600 7 Ordinary degree or equivalent
Honours Bachelor Degree, Graduate Diploma or Higher Diploma at NFQ level 8 600 8 Honours bachelor degree or equivalent
Professional (Honours Bachelor Degree equivalent or higher) 600 8 Honours bachelor degree or equivalent
Post-Graduate (e.g. Post Graduate Diploma or Masters degree at NFQ level 9) 700 9 Postgraduate qualification
Doctorate or higher (e.g. Doctoral Degree/higher Doctorate at NFQ level 10) 800 10 Postgraduate qualification

ILO labour force classification

The primary classification used for the QNHS results is the ILO (International Labour Office) Labour Force classification. The ILO classification distinguishes the following main subgroups of the population aged 15 and over:

In Employment: Persons who worked in the week before the survey for one hour or more for payment or profit, including work on the family farm or business and all persons who had a job but were not at work because of illness, holidays etc. in the week.

Unemployed: Persons who, in the week before the survey, were without work and available for work within the next two weeks, and had taken specific steps, in the preceding four weeks, to find work.

Inactive Population (not in labour force): All other persons.

The rates given in this release are based on the ILO classification.

  • The Labour Force Participation Rate is the number of persons in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the total population.
  • The Employment Rate is the number of employed persons as a percentage of the total population.
  • The Unemployment Rate is the number of unemployed expressed as a percentage of the total labour force.

Principal economic status classification

The Principal Economic Status (PES) classification is based on a single question in which respondents are asked what is their usual situation with regard to employment and given the following response categories:

  • At work
  • Unemployed
  • Student
  • Engaged on home duties
  • Retired
  • Other

Region

The regional classifications in this release is based on the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units) classification used by Eurostat. Until Q4 2017, the NUTS3 regions corresponded to the eight Regional Authorities established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1993, which came into operation on 1 January 1994 while the NUTS2 regions, which were proposed by Government and agreed by Eurostat in 1999, were groupings of those historic NUTS3 regions.

However, the NUTS3 boundaries were amended on 21st of November 2016 under Regulation (EC) No. 2066/2016 and have come into force from Q1 2018. These new groupings are reflected in the LFS results from Q1 2018 onwards. The changes resulting from the amendment are that County Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East and what was formerly South Tipperary has moved from the South-East to the Mid-West, resulting in the new NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions:

Northern & Western NUTS2 Region Southern NUTS2 Region  Eastern & Midland NUTS2 Region  
Border Cavan Mid-West

Clare

 Dublin Dublin City
  Donegal   Limerick City & County    Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
  Leitrim   Tipperary    Fingal
  Monaghan        South Dublin 
  Sligo South-East Carlow    
      Kilkenny  Mid-East  Kildare
West Galway City    Waterford City & County    Meath
  Galway County   Wexford     Wicklow
  Mayo        Louth
  Roscommor  South-West Cork City    
      Cork County  Midland  Laois
      Kerry    Longford
          Offaly
          Westmeath 

European countries

The EU-28 comprises the following 28 countries:

Austria Germany Poland
Belgium Greece Portugal
Bulgaria Hungry Romania
Croatia Ireland Slovak Republic
Cyprus Italy Slovenia
Czechia Latvia Spain
Denmark Lithuania Sweden
Estonia Luxembourg United Kingdom
Finland Malta  
France Netherlands  

The EU-15 is a subset of the EU-28 and includes the following 15 countries:

Austria Germany Netherland
Belgium Greece Portugal
Denmark Ireland Spain
Finland Italy Sweden
France Luxembourg United Kingdom

 

Participating households

The Central Statistics Office wishes to thank the participating households for their co-operation in agreeing to take part in the survey and for facilitating the collection of the relevant data.

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