Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unemployment and Education

The CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey can be used to give an insight into the employment performance of the population when divided by educational attainment.  This graph uses the most recent QNHS release which gave data up to Q3 2010.

Unemployment and Education

It is, perhaps, an unsurprising picture.  Unemployment is lowest amongst those who have some form of third-level education; non-degree (9.1%) and degree and above (7.1%).  No other category has an unemployment rate of less than 15%.

There has been some minor shifts in the relative rankings of the categories since the fall from peak employment in late 2007.  The category with the highest unemployment rate is not lower secondary (Junior Certificate) at 23.3%.  This is now worse than unemployment amongst those with  only primary education but this is likely a function of participation rates as well as employment changes.  Participation amongst those with only primary education is 37.8%.

The second switch has seen the unemployment rate of those with a post-Leaving Cert qualification (19.2%) move above the unemployment rate of those who leave education after the Leaving Cert (15.2%).

It would be very useful if we had a breakdown of these educational attainment categories by age as we could examine the employment performance of those who have recently completed their education across the different categories versus those who would have finished their education well before the current crisis.

One break down by age that is provided is the differences between early school leavers and those who continued further in education.  A person is defined as an ‘early school leaver’ of they have a highest educational attainment level of lower secondary (Junior Cert) or below and have not received formal education in the past four weeks.  The CSO provides details of these groups in two age categories; 18-24 years and 25-64 years.  Here are the unemployment rates.

Unemployment and Early School Leavers

The unemployment rate amongst early school leavers in the 18-24 age category was always the highest but is now a staggering 56.5%.  For male early school leavers the rate is 61.6% and 45.7% for female early school leavers.

Those in the 25-64 category who left school early have a lower unemployment rate then those in the 18-24 age category who continued in education to Leaving Cert and beyond.

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