Annex A. Data sources

In Germany there are two institutions collecting data on employment and education: The BA and the statistical offices of the federal states and the federation.

  • The BA considers employees only, excluding self-employed and civil servants. The employment statistics of the BA record the employment relationships based on the employers’ social insurance reports for individuals aged 15-64. Information on vocational qualifications is only available for around 89% of employees subject to social insurance contributions in Germany. The resulting uncertainty must be taken into account when considering the extent and distribution of different educational backgrounds. The group of low-qualified persons are to be understood as those employees who: (i) do not have a vocational qualification for which a training period of at least two years is stipulated under federal or federal state law, or (ii) have a vocational qualification but have worked in a semi-skilled or unskilled job for more than four years, which makes them be considered to no longer be likely to be able to work in their profession (occupationally alienated).

  • The statistical offices of the federal states and the federation conduct the annual micro census, following the labour force concept of the ILO: All persons aged 15 years or older who are employed as employees (blue-collar and white-collar workers subject to compulsory social insurance employees incl. trainees, civil servants, marginally employed persons, soldiers and those doing those doing community service) or as self-employed persons and family members helping out are engaged in an activity aimed at economic gain, irrespective of the extent of this activity. Following the ILO concept, an unemployed person is any person aged 15 to 74 who was not in employment during the reference week, but who had been actively seeking employment during the four weeks preceding the interview. The micro census uses international standards to define low-qualified adults: The definition includes all adults who have less than primary, primary and lower secondary education, ISCED levels 0-2. As opposed to the BA’s definition, these adults do not have a higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulreife).

The report also draws from qualitative interviews on career guidance (QIG) commissioned specifically for this study. The German Institute for Adult Education (DIE) conducted these interviews with 50 low-qualified employees with the objective to learn directly from them about their experiences with and their barriers towards the use of career guidance. Half of the interviewees are female, they are between 18 and 59 years old, 40% had a migration background and 40% lived in a rural area. Sixty percent of them have used career guidance services and reported their experiences, while the other 40% reported on their barriers towards using training (see Annex B).

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2022

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at