Education at a Glance 2015
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Education at a Glance 2015

OECD Indicators

Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators is the authoritative source for accurate information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools.

The 2015 edition introduces more detailed analysis of participation in early childhood and tertiary levels of education. The report also examines first generation tertiary-educated adults’ educational and social mobility, labour market outcomes for recent graduates, and participation in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education. Readiness to use information and communication technology for problem solving in teaching and learning is also examined. The publication provides indicators on the impact of skills on employment and earnings, gender differences in education and employment, and teacher and school leader appraisal systems. For the first time, this edition includes highlights of each indicator inside the book. The report covers all 34 OECD countries and a number of partner countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and for the first time, Costa Rica and Lithuania).

The Excel™ spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts in Education at a Glance are available via the StatLinks provided throughout the publication.

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Indicator A5 How Does Educational Attainment Affect Participation in the Labour Market? You do not have access to this content

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Indicator A5 examines the impact of educational attainment on employment, including labour market outcomes for recent graduates. It shows employment and unemployment rates by educational attainment, age and gender. This indicator also looks at skills and readiness to use information and communication technologies (ICT) for problem solving in relation to work.

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Chapter Highlights

  • On average, over 80% of tertiary-educated people are employed compared with over 70% of people with an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and less than 60% of people with below upper secondary education.

  • Unemployment rates are higher among younger adults (25-34 year-olds) than among older adults (55-64 year-olds), for all levels of education.

  • Despite their higher educational attainment, young women still have lower employment rates than young men, although the gender gap is much narrower among tertiary-educated young adults than among those with lower educational attainment.

Chart A5.1. Unemployment rates, by educational attainment (2014)
25-64 year-olds

1. Brazil, Chile, France, the Russian Federation: Data for year 2014 refer to year 2013.

2. The United Kingdom: Data for upper secondary attainment includes completion of a sufficient volume and standard of programmes that would be classified individually as completion of intermediate upper secondary programmes (18% of the adults are under this group).

Countries are ranked in descending order of the unemployment rate of adults with below upper secondary education.

Source: OECD. Table A5.4a. See Annex 3 for notes (

ContextExpand / Collapse

Educational qualifications are frequently used as a proxy measure of the skills available in the population and the labour force. The economies of OECD countries depend upon a sufficient supply of high-skilled workers. In most OECD countries, people with high qualifications are most likely to be employed. At the same time, people with the lowest educational qualifications are at greater risk of being unemployed. Given the technological advances that have been transforming the needs of the global labour market, people with higher or specific skills are in strong demand. Favourable employment prospects confirm the value of attaining high levels of education: on average, 12.8% of adults with low qualifications are unemployed, while among those with tertiary qualifications only 5.1% are unemployed.

Other findingsExpand / Collapse

  • Unemployment rates are slightly lower among individuals with vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education (8.5%), on average, than among individuals with a general upper secondary education (8.9%).

  • In Colombia and Mexico, unemployment rates are higher among tertiary-educated adults (7.4% and 5.0%, respectively) than among those with below upper secondary education (6.2% and 3.5%, respectively).

  • Employment rates among adults without an upper secondary qualification are below 40% in the Slovak Republic (33%) and Poland (39%).

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