BRUSSELS, 30th April, 2023 (WAM) -- In 2022, 75% (193.5 million) of the EU's 20-64-year-olds were employed, the highest share recorded since the start of the time series in 2009, according to data on the labour force published by Eurostat. The employment rate dropped to 72% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but rebounded to 73% in 2021 and further increased by 2 percentage points (pp) in 2022.
Among the EU countries, 11 had employment rates above 78% (one of the three targets set in the 2030 action plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights), with the Netherlands (83%), Sweden, and Estonia (both 82%) having the highest rates. The lowest rates were recorded in Italy (65%), Greece (66%), and Romania (69%).
In 2022, the EU over-qualification rate was 22%, with 21% for men and 23% for women. Over-qualification is when people with tertiary education (ISCED levels 5-8) are employed in occupations that do not require such a high level of education (equivalent to ISCO major groups 4-9).
Among the EU countries, the over-qualification rate was highest in Spain (36%), followed by Greece and Cyprus (each 32%). Meanwhile, Luxembourg (7%), Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, and Czechia (each 14%) recorded the lowest rates.
In 19 of the 27 EU countries, women had higher over-qualification rates than men, with the largest differences recorded in Malta (+11 pp), Cyprus (+8 pp), Italy, and Slovakia (both +7 pp). However, in eight EU countries, men had higher over-qualification rates, with the biggest differences recorded in Baltic countries: Lithuania (+5 pp), Estonia, and Latvia (each +4 pp).