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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Education@cso.ie Sarah Crilly (+353) 21 453 5085 Caroline Barrett (+353) 21 453 5485
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information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Educational Attainment Thematic Report

2019

Early school leavers and other persons aged 18-24 by labour market status, Q2 2019
 Labour market status (%)
 EmployedUnemployedInactive
Early school leaver272547
Other persons aged 18-2456836
All persons aged 18-2454936

Employment rates lower for early school leavers

Fig 1 Png image
go to full release

Early school leavers were less likely to engage in the labour market in Q2 2019. An early school leaver is three times as likely to be unemployed than another person aged 18-24 who is not an early school leaver. In Q2 2019, 25% of early school leavers were unemployed compared to 8% 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.

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 (86%) than those with no formal education/primary education (40%) in Q2 2019. Conversely, those with no formal education/primary education were twice as likely to be unemployed (6%) than those with a third level qualification (3%). The proportion of those aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification was 47% in Q2 2019, while one in twenty (5%) reported that they had primary education/no formal education. See Summary table.

Summary table Educational Attainment Q2 2019
   %
Highest level of education attainedPersons aged 25-64
Percentage of totalEmployment rateUnemployment rate
Primary or below5406
Lower secondary11587
Higher secondary22735
Post leaving certificate15775
Third level47863
Total persons aged 25 to 64 100764

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 2019 data may not be directly comparable to the Q2 2017 and earlier series, and users should therefore note this when examining annual changes over the time series.

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

Educational level by age - younger age groups have higher education levels

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 (55% and 54% respectively) compared to just three in ten (30%) 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 2019 with rates of 30% and 58% respectively. The equivalent rates for males were 23% for the 20-24 age group and 51% for the 25-34 age group. This gender gap continues in older age groups but to a lesser extent. There was a 6 percentage point difference between the genders at the 45-54 age group and a 7 percentage point difference between the 60-64 age group. See Table 2.2. 

One in seven persons (14%) 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 16% of males aged 60-64 years had primary education/no formal education only, compared to 13% of females.

Highest level of education attainedPrimary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level
15-19 years24522210
20-24 years15561226
25-34 years26221555
35-44 years37201654
45-54 years613221643
55-59 years920221633
60-64 years1421231230
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 2019. 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 2019. See Figure 3.

The percentage of males with primary education/no formal education decreased in the last ten years from 14% in Q2 2009 to 8% in Q2 2019. The corresponding proportion of females dropped from 11% to 6%.

Highest level of education attainedPrimary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level
20091316231336
20101114241238
20111014241339
20121014231340
2013913231342
2014813241441
2015812241343
2016612221445
2017512221447
2018512211547
2019511221547
Primary or belowLower secondaryHigher secondaryPost leaving cert.Third Level
20091315231237
20101114241239
20111014241339
20121014221341
2013913231343
2014713231543
2015613231444
2016612221445
2017512221447
2018512211547

Education level by nationality - non-Irish nationals have higher education levels

Irish nationals had a lower educational attainment profile than non-Irish nationals. In Q2 2019, over four in ten Irish nationals (45%) aged 25-64 years old had a third level qualification. In comparison, the other EU15 states (excluding Ireland and the UK) had a third level attainment rate of 72% and other nationalities (non EU28 nationalities) were at 69%. The only nationality group with a lower rate of third level attainment than Irish nationals was the group of nationals from the EU15-28 member states at 40%. See Table 3 and Figure 4.

"" "" ""
Highest level of education attainedPrimary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level
Irish612211545
United Kingdom610151852
EU-15 excl. Ire & UK01131472
EU-15 to EU-2837331840
Other22161069
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 - Dublin has the highest education levels

In Dublin, almost three in five persons (57%) aged 25-64 years old had a third level qualification in Q2 2019, but just over a third (36%) have a third level qualification in the Midlands. See Table 4 and Map 1.1.

One in ten persons (10%) aged 25-64 years old in the Border region had a primary level education or no formal education in Q2 2019. Conversely, only 4% of persons had a primary education level or below in the Mid-East. See Table 4 and Map 1.2.

Education level and the labour force - employment rates increase with education level

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 2019, 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 almost twice as likely to be employed (91%) than those with a primary education or no formal education (51%). 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 2019, males aged 25-64 years old with a primary education or below were four times as likely to be unemployed (8%) compared to males with a third level qualification (2%). The corresponding values for females in Q2 2018 were 2% and 3%. 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 2019, females aged 25-64 years old with a third level qualification were over three times as likely to be in the labour force (84%) compared to females with a primary education or below (27%). The corresponding values for males in Q2 2019 were 93% and 55% respectively. See Table 5.3.

MaleFemaleTotal
Primary or below512640
Lower secondary714158
Higher secondary826373
Post leaving cert.876777
Third level918286
Highest level of education attainedMaleFemaleTotal
Primary or below442635
Lower secondary734161
Higher secondary816171
Post leaving cert.836876
Third level908285
All education levels826975
MaleFemaleTotal
Primary or below826
Lower secondary777
Higher secondary555
Post leaving cert.575
Third level233
Highest level of education attainedMaleFemaleTotal
Primary or below151114
Lower secondary787
Higher secondary565
Post leaving cert.666
Third level444
All educational levels555

Early school leavers - Ireland has one of the lowest rates in the EU

The latest available EU figures showed that in 2018 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 2019, 5% of those aged 18-24 were defined as early school leavers, a decrease from 14% in Q2 2004. In Q2 2019, females aged 18-24 years old were less likely than males to be classified as early school leavers (4% versus 6%). See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.2.

Early school leavers as a % of persons aged 18-24EU-28
Croatia311
Slovenia411
Greece511
Ireland511
Lithuania511
Poland511
Czechia611
Luxembourg611
Austria711
Netherlands711
Cyprus811
Finland811
Latvia811
Belgium911
France911
Slovakia911
Sweden911
Denmark1011
Germany1011
Estonia1111
United Kingdom1111
Portugal1211
Bulgaria1311
Hungary1311
Italy1511
Romania1611
Malta1811
Spain1811
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
2019645
Male Female Total
2004171014
200516912
200617913
200715812
200815711
200915711
201014912
201113811
201212810
20131168
2014856
2015856
2016746
2017745
2018635

Just under half (47%) of all early school leavers were not economically active compared to just over a third (36%) of other persons aged 18-24 in Q2 2019. Just over one in four (27%) early school leavers were employed in Q2 2019 with 25% unemployed. Early school leavers had a much lower rate of employment in Q2 2019 compared with other persons aged 18-24 (27% compared to 56%). The unemployment rate for early school leavers was three times that for other persons aged 18-24 (25% compared to 8%). See Table 6.3.

Secondary level educational attainment of 20-24 year olds - Ireland one of the highest in the EU

The latest available EU figures showed that in 2018, 84% 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 2019, over nine out of ten (94%) 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 2019, females aged 20-24 years old were more likely than males to have attained at least a higher secondary level education (95% versus 93%). See Table 7.2 and Figure 7.2.

Persons with at least a higher secondary education as a % of persons aged 20 - 24EU-28
Spain7384
Denmark7584
Germany7784
Luxembourg7784
Malta7784
Italy8184
Portugal8184
Romania8284
Estonia8384
Netherlands8384
Belgium8584
Hungary8584
Sweden8584
Bulgaria8684
United Kingdom8684
Finland8784
Austria8884
France8884
Latvia8884
Slovakia8984
Czechia9084
Poland9184
Cyprus9284
Lithuania9284
Slovenia9284
Greece9484
Ireland9484
Croatia9684
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 Female Total
2000808784
2001818985
2002808984
2003829086
2004829086
2005839087
2006819086
2007849187
2008849288
2009859289
2010869390
2011879290
2012879290
2013899492
2014929593
2015929594
2016929694
2017939694
2018939695
2019939594
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 - Ireland 3rd highest in the EU

The latest available EU figures (2018) show that 41% of 30-34 year olds had a third level qualification. Ireland had the third highest third level educational attainment level at 56%, behind Cyprus (57%) 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 slowly increased in recent years. In Q2 2019, 55% 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 half (50%) of males.

Persons with a third level qualification as a % of persons aged 30 -34EU-28
Romania2541
Italy2841
Bulgaria3441
Croatia3441
Czechia3441
Hungary3441
Malta3441
Portugal3441
Germany3541
Slovakia3841
Austria4141
Spain4241
Latvia4341
Slovenia4341
Finland4441
Greece4441
France4641
Poland4641
Estonia4741
Belgium4841
Denmark4941
Netherlands4941
United Kingdom4941
Sweden5241
Ireland5641
Luxembourg5641
Cyprus5741
Lithuania5841
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 Female Total
2000262928
2001293130
2002313432
2003363535
2004374139
2005384341
2006364641
2007374842
2008405246
2009435549
2010465751
2011455751
2012465953
2013475953
2014466254
2015456153
2016476054
2017486355
2018536057
2019506055
Male FemaleTotal
2000262928
2001293130
2002313432
2003363535
2004374139
2005384340
2006364641
2007384943
2008415347
2009445650
2010465751
2011455751
2012465953
2013475953
2014466254
2015456153
2016476054
2017486355
2018536057
Table 1 Percentage of persons aged 15-64, classified by sex and the highest level of education attained, Q2 2016 - Q2 2019
% of persons
Highest level of education attained NFQ 2016201720182019
Males aged 15 to 64
Primary or below None/1/28778
Lower Secondary 318181716
Higher Secondary 4/526262626
Post Leaving Certificate 4/5/613121313
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1035373737
     Higher Certificate or equivalent62211
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent77888
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent817181818
     Postgraduate qualification9/1099910
All males aged 15 to 64  100100100100
 
Females aged 15 to 64
Primary or below None/1/26566
Lower Secondary 314141313
Higher Secondary 4/523232423
Post Leaving Certificate 4/5/613131314
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1043454443
     Higher Certificate or equivalent63221
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent79999
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent821212221
     Postgraduate qualification9/1011121211
All females aged 15 to 64  100100100100
 
All persons aged 15 to 64
Primary or below None/1/27667
Lower Secondary 316161515
Higher Secondary 4/525242525
Post Leaving Certificate 4/5/613131314
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1039414040
     Higher Certificate or equivalent62211
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent78889
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent819202020
     Postgraduate qualification9/1010111011
All persons aged 15 to 64  100100100100
Table 2.1 Highest level of education attained by persons aged 15-64, classified by age group, Q2 2016 - Q2 2019
% of persons
Highest level of education attained/NFQ
      Third Level, of which:Total
Primary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level (in total)Higher Certificate or equivalentOrdinary Degree or equivalentHonours bachelor degree or equivalentPostgraduate qualification
 None/1/234/54/5/66/7/8/9/106789/10
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
 
April to June 2019
15-19 years245222100000100
20-24 years1556122615182100
25-34 years26221555192916100
35-44 years372016541122516100
45-54 years6132216431102011100
55-59 years92022163328149100
60-64 years142123123017147100
All persons aged 15 to 64715251440192011100
Table 2.2 Highest level of education attained by persons aged 15-64, classified by age group and sex, Q2 2019
% of persons
Highest level of education attained /NFQ
 Third Level, of which:Total
 Primary or below Lower secondaryHigher secondaryPost Leaving CertificateThird level (in total)Higher Certificate or equivalentOrdinary Degree or equivalentHonours bachelor degree or equivalentPostgraduate qualification
 None/1/234/54/5/66/7/8/9/106789/10
Males aged 15 to 64
15-19 years255123000000100
20-24 years1661102315152100
25-34 years27251551192714100
35-44 years382317481112314100
45-54 years816211540191911100
55-59 years92319163328149100
60-64 years162421132617117100
All males aged 15 to 64816261337181810100
 
Females aged 15 to 64
15-19 years235421100000100
20-24 years1450153016212100
25-34 years24191658193117100
35-44 years261814592132718100
45-54 years5112217462112111100
55-59 years91724163439148100
60-64 years131726113328167100
All females aged 15 to 64613231443192111100
 
All persons aged 15 to 64
15-19 years245222100000100
20-24 years1556122615182100
25-34 years26221555192916100
35-44 years372016541122516100
45-54 years6132216431102011100
55-59 years92022163328149100
60-64 years142123123017147100
All persons aged 15 to 64715251440192011100
Table 3 Highest level of education attained by persons aged 25-64, classified by nationality, Q2 2016 - Q2 2019
% of persons
  Nationality
  IrishNon - IrishUnited KingdomEU-15 excl. Ire & UKEU-15 to EU-28OtherAll nationalities
Highest level of education attained NFQ April to June 2016
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
 
Highest level of education attained NFQ April to June 2017
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
 
Highest level of education attained NFQ April to June 2018
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
 
Highest level of education attained NFQ April to June 2019
Primary or belowNone/1/26360325
Lower secondary31251017211
Higher secondary4/521221513331622
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/615151814181015
Third Level, of which: 6/7/8/9/1045555272406947
     Higher Certificate or equivalent61112101
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent79131213121610
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent822242433172922
     Postgraduate qualification9/1012171424102413
All persons aged 25 to 64 100100100100100100100
Table 4 Highest level of education attained by persons aged 25-64, classified by sex and NUTS3 region1, Q2 2019
% of persons
   NUTS3 region
Highest level of education attained  NFQBorderDublinMid-EastMidlandMid-WestSouth-EastSouth-WestWestState
Males aged 25 to 64
Primary or below None/1/21354965666
Lower secondary 316914161416151313
Higher secondary 4/5211927252522212522
Post Leaving Certificate 4/5/6181115191624181416
Third Level, of which:  6/7/8/9/10315641313933414243
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6111111121
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent79111071078119
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8142719162016201721
     Postgraduate qualification9/1071810888121212
Total males aged 25 to 64  100100100100100100100100100
 
Females aged 25 to 64
Primary or below None/1/2744646445
Lower secondary 3109101210101079
Higher secondary 4/5221624262124192621
Post Leaving Certificate 4/5/6181315151719161215
Third Level, of which:  6/7/8/9/10435847414942515150
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6211223322
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent71011117810111311
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8212624232420252224
     Postgraduate qualification9/10920119149111414
Total females aged 25 to 64  100100100100100100100100100
 
All Persons aged 25 to 64
Primary or below None/1/21054755555
Lower secondary 313912141213121011
Higher secondary 4/5221825262323202522
Post Leaving Certificate 4/5/6181215171621171315
Third Level, of which:  6/7/8/9/10375744364437464747
     Higher Certificate or equivalent6211122221
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent710111179991210
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent8182722192218232022
     Postgraduate qualification9/10819118118121313
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 2019
% of persons
Highest level of education attained NFQ 2016201720182019
Male employment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/245424451
Lower Secondary370707371
Higher Secondary4/577798182
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/681828387
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/1087899091
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 684829183
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 784868887
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 887909091
     Postgraduate qualification 9/1090919194
Total male employment rate 78808283
 
Female employment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/225242626
Lower Secondary339394141
Higher Secondary4/559586163
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/664646867
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/1079818282
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 666746771
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 774757678
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 880818382
     Postgraduate qualification 9/1083858685
Total female employment rate 65676969
 
All persons employment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/236343540
Lower Secondary357576158
Higher Secondary4/568697173
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/673737677
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/1082848586
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 674787775
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 779808182
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 883858686
     Postgraduate qualification 9/1086878889
Total persons employment rate  72747576
Table 5.2 Unemployment rates of persons aged 25-64, classified by sex and highest level of education attained, Q2 2016 - Q2 2019
% of persons
Highest level of education attained NFQ 2016201720182019
Male unemployment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/22115158
Lower Secondary3131177
Higher Secondary4/510755
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/68665
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/105442
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 68807
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 77543
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 84343
     Postgraduate qualification 9/104331
Total male unemployment rate 8654
 
Female unemployment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/21711112
Lower Secondary311987
Higher Secondary4/58665
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/610967
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/106343
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 613593
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 75354
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 85343
     Postgraduate qualification 9/106333
Total female unemployment rate 7554
 
All persons unemployment rate
Primary or belowNone/1/21914146
Lower Secondary3131077
Higher Secondary4/59755
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/69765
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/105343
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 611755
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 76444
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 85343
     Postgraduate qualification 9/105332
Total unemployment rate  8654
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 2019
% of persons
Highest level of education attained NFQ 2016201720182019
Male participation rate
Primary or belowNone/1/257495155
Lower Secondary380797876
Higher Secondary4/585858686
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/688878891
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/1092929393
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 691899189
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 790919190
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 891939493
     Postgraduate qualification 9/1094949495
Total male participation rate 86868687
 
Female participation rate
Primary or belowNone/1/230272927
Lower Secondary344424544
Higher Secondary4/564626567
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/671717271
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/1083838584
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 676777473
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 778788081
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 884848684
     Postgraduate qualification 9/1088878988
Total female participation rate  70717372
 
All persons particpation rate
Primary or belowNone/1/245404142
Lower Secondary365646563
Higher Secondary4/575747577
Post Leaving Certificate4/5/680798081
Third Level, of which:6/7/8/9/1087878988
     Higher Certificate or equivalent 683838179
     Ordinary Degree or equivalent 784848585
     Honours bachelor degree or equivalent 887889088
     Postgraduate qualification 9/1090909191
Total participation rate  78787979
Table 6.1 Early school leavers1 as a percentage of persons aged 18-24 in EU member states, classified by sex, 2018
% of persons
Country MalesFemalesTotal
EU-2812911
 
Austria967
Belgium1179
Bulgaria131313
Croatia433
Cyprus1068
Czechia666
Denmark13810
Estonia16611
Finland978
France1179
Germany12910
Greece645
Hungary131213
Ireland645
Italy171215
Latvia1158
Lithuania635
Luxembourg766
Malta191618
Netherlands957
Poland645
Portugal15912
Romania171616
Slovakia899
Slovenia534
Spain221418
Sweden1089
United Kingdom12911
Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat figures for Ireland are derived on an annual average for 2018 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 2019
% of persons
 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Male 17161715151514131211887766
Female 10998779886554434
Total 1412131211111211108666555
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 2019
% of persons
 2010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Early school leaver
Employed41313035312943342827
Unemployed37424339334023241825
In labour force78737474646966574653
Inactive22272626363134435447
 
Other persons aged 18-24
Employed52504850495257565656
Unemployed18172018151212998
In labour force70686868646469656564
Inactive30323232363631353536
 
All persons aged 18-24
Employed51484649485157555554
Unemployed202022201613121099
In labour force71686868646469656464
Inactive29323232363631353636
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, 2018
% of persons
Country MalesFemalesTotal
EU-28818684
 
Austria869088
Belgium828885
Bulgaria868686
Croatia979696
Cyprus909392
Czechia899190
Denmark708075
Estonia778883
Finland878887
France859188
Germany758077
Greece929694
Hungary858585
Ireland949594
Italy798481
Latvia849388
Lithuania909492
Luxembourg738077
Malta757977
Netherlands798683
Poland909391
Portugal778581
Romania828282
Slovakia908989
Slovenia909492
Spain687873
Sweden838785
United Kingdom848886
Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat figures for Ireland are derived on an annual average for 2018 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 2019
% of persons
 2010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Male 86878789929292939393
Female93929294959596969695
All persons90909092939494949594
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, 2018
% of persons
Country MalesFemalesTotal
EU-28364641
 
Austria374441
Belgium415548
Bulgaria274134
Croatia274234
Cyprus496457
Czechia274134
Denmark425749
Estonia385847
Finland365344
France415146
Germany353535
Greece385144
Hungary274134
Ireland526056
Italy223428
Latvia315543
Lithuania486858
Luxembourg536056
Malta323734
Netherlands465349
Poland365646
Portugal244334
Romania212825
Slovakia314538
Slovenia325643
Spain364942
Sweden455952
United Kingdom465249
Source: Eurostat
The Eurostat figures for Ireland are derived on an annual average for 2018 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 2019
% of persons
 2010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Male 46454647464547485350
Female57575959626160636060
All persons51515353545354555755
1 See background notes for definition of a "third level qualification".

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: 

Information Notice - Labour Force Survey Quarter 3 2017

Information Notice - Labour Force Survey Quarter 1 2018

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).

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:

International Standard of 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:

National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)

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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