Educational attainment level and transition from education to work (based on EU-LFS)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F3: Labour market and lifelong learning

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 25/04/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 28/11/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 28/11/2017


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The folder 'population by educational attainment level (edat1)' presents data on the highest level of education successfully completed by the individuals of a given population.

The folder 'transition from education to work (edatt)' covers data on young people neither in employment nor in education and training – NEET, early leavers from education and training and the labour status of young people by years since completion of highest level of education.

The data shown are calculated as annual averages of quarterly EU Labour Force Survey data (EU-LFS).

Up to the reference year 2008, the data source (EU-LFS) is, where necessary, adjusted and enriched in various ways, in accordance with the specificities of an indicator, including the following:

  • correction of the main breaks in the LFS series,
  • estimation of the missing values, i.e. in case of missing quarters, annual results and EU aggregates are estimated using adjusted quarterly national labour force survey data or interpolations of the EU-LFS data with reference to the available quarter(s).

Details on the adjustments are available in CIRCABC.

The adjustments are applied in the following online tables:

  • Population by educational attainment level (edat1)

- Population by educational attainment level, sex and age (%) - main indicators (edat_lfse_03)
- Population aged 25-64 by educational attainment level, sex and NUTS 2 regions (%) (edat_lfse_04)
- Population aged 30-34 by educational attainment level, sex and NUTS 2 regions (%) (edat_lfse_12)

(Other tables shown in the folder 'population by educational attainment level (edat1)' are not adjusted and therefore the results in these tables might differ).

  • Young people by educational and labour status (incl. neither in employment nor in education and training - NEET) (edatt0) – all tables
  • Early leavers from education and training (edatt1) – all tables
  • Labour status of young people by years since completion of highest level of education (edatt2) – all tables

LFS ad-hoc module data available in the folder 'transition from education to work (edatt)' are not adjusted.

The folder 'transition from education to work (edatt)' also presents one table with quarterly NEET data for the age group 15-24 (lfsi_neet_q). Deviating from the NEET indicator calculation as provided in 3.4, the denominator in this table is the total population of the same age group and sex which explains differences in results. For further information, see the ESMS on "Unemployment - LFS adjusted series".

3.2. Classification system

The classification of educational activities is based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). Data until 2013 are classified according to ISCED 1997 and data as from 2014 according to ISCED 2011 (coding of educational attainment).

In the online database, data on educational attainment are in general presented for three aggregates as follows:

  • Less than primary, primary and lower secondary education: this aggregate refers to levels 0, 1 and 2 of the ISCED 2011 (online code ED0-2). Data up to 2013 refer to ISCED 1997 levels 0, 1 and 2 but also include level 3C short (educational attainment from ISCED level 3 programmes of less than two years).
  • Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education: this aggregate corresponds to ISCED 2011 levels 3 and 4 (online code ED3_4). ISCED 2011 level 3 programmes of partial level completion are considered within ISCED level 3. Data up to 2013 refer to ISCED 1997 levels 3C long, 3A, 3B and 4.
  • Tertiary education: this aggregate covers ISCED 2011 levels 5, 6, 7 and 8 (short-cycle tertiary education, bachelor's or equivalent level, master's or equivalent level, doctoral or equivalent level, online code ED5-8 ‘tertiary education’). Data up to 2013 refer to ISCED 1997 levels 5 and 6.

For the aggregate 'upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education' an additional breakdown by programme orientation (general, vocational) is available for the age group 15-34 (online codes ED3_4GEN, ED3_4VOC) as from 2014.

For further information on educational attainment see here.

ISCED 2011 categories for educational attainment at 1-digit level:

Level 0 – Less than primary education
Level 1 – Primary education
Level 2 – Lower secondary education
Level 3 – Upper secondary education
Level 4 – Post-secondary non-tertiary education
Level 5 – Short-cycle tertiary education
Level 6 – Bachelor’s or equivalent level
Level 7 – Master’s or equivalent level
Level 8 – Doctoral or equivalent level

ISCED 1997 categories at 1-digit level:

Level 0 – Pre-primary education
Level 1 – Primary education or first stage of basic education
Level 2 – Lower secondary or second stage of basic education
Level 3 – (Upper) secondary education
Level 4 – Post-secondary non-tertiary education
Level 5 – First stage of tertiary education
Level 6 – Second stage of tertiary education

3.3. Coverage - sector

As a general rule the EU-LFS covers all economic sectors.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The educational attainment level of an individual is the highest ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) level successfully completed, the successful completion of an education programme being validated by a recognised qualification, i.e. a qualification officially recognised by the relevant national education authorities or recognised as equivalent to another qualification of formal education. In countries where education programmes, in particular those belonging to ISCED levels 1 and 2, do not lead to a qualification the criterion of full attendance of the programme and normally gaining access to a higher level of education may have to be used instead. When determining the highest level, both general and vocational education should be taken into consideration. The ISCED definition of education includes training. Data on educational attainment level exclude persons who did not answer to the question 'highest level of education or training successfully completed'.

Early leavers from education and training denotes the percentage of the population aged 18 to 24 having attained at most lower secondary education and not being involved in further education or training. The numerator of the indicator refers to persons aged 18 to 24 who meet the following two conditions: (a) the highest level of education or training they have completed is ISCED 2011 level 0, 1 or 2 (ISCED 1997: 0, 1, 2 or 3C short) and (b) they have not received any education or training (i.e. neither formal nor non-formal) in the four weeks preceding the survey. The denominator in the total population consists of the same age group, excluding the respondents who have not answered the questions 'highest level of education or training successfully completed' and 'participation in education and training'.

The indicator on young people neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET) corresponds to the percentage of the population of a given age group and sex who is not employed and not involved in further education or training. The numerator of the indicator refers to persons who meet the following two conditions: (a) they are not employed (i.e. unemployed or inactive according to the International Labour Organisation definition) and (b) they have not received any education or training (i.e. neither formal nor non-formal) in the four weeks preceding the survey. The denominator in the total population consists of the same age group and sex, excluding the respondents who have not answered the question 'participation in regular (formal) education and training'. Due to no answers to the variable 'participation in education and training' or 'educational attainment level', certain breakdowns of NEET rates may not exactly sum up to the overall NEET rate for a given age group and sex.

The indicator employment rates of recent graduates is defined as the percentage of the population aged 20-34 with at least upper secondary education, who were employed (ILO definition), not in further education or training (i.e. neither formal nor non-formal) during the last four weeks preceding the survey and who successfully completed their highest educational attainment 1, 2 or 3 years before the survey. The indicator is based on data available in the table on employment rates by year since completing the highest level of education (edat_lfse_24).

Education/training received covers formal and non-formal education and training. Formal education is defined by ISCED as ‘education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned through public organisations and recognised private bodies, and – in their totality – constitute the formal education system of a country. Formal education programmes are thus recognised as such by the relevant national education or equivalent authorities, e.g. any other institution in cooperation with the national or sub-national education authorities.’ Non-formal education and training is defined as any institutionalised, intentional and organised/planned learning activities outside the formal education system. According to the classification of learning activities (CLA 2016), non-formal education and training comprises courses, seminars and workshops, private lessons or instructions and guided-on-the-job training. However, non-formal education as measured in the EU-LFS excludes guided-on-the-job training. The information collected covers both job-related (professional) and non-job related (personal, social, 'leisure') education and training activities.

3.5. Statistical unit

Individuals living in private households.

3.6. Statistical population

The EU-LFS results cover the total population usually residing in Member States, except for persons living in collective or institutional households. While demographic data are gathered for all age groups, questions relating to labour market status are restricted to persons in the age group of 15 years or older. In the EFTA countries participating in LFS, i.e. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, population data are not provided for the age groups outside the scope of labour market questions. The EU-LFS covers all industries and occupations.

For more details and exceptions, please consult please consult the EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Methodology.

3.7. Reference area

European Union, Euro area, EU Member States, Candidate Countries, EFTA Countries (except for Liechtenstein). Data for Cyprus refer only to the areas of Cyprus controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Since 2014, data for France include also the French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, La Réunion), with the exception of Mayotte.

3.8. Coverage - Time

The time coverage varies by indicator and country. Data for all Member States are mostly available from 1998 onwards. Data relating to the former EU-15 are available from 1992 onwards. Results for Candidate Countries date back to 2002 and for EFTA countries to 1995. For comparability reasons, regional data are published from 2000 onwards.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.


4. Unit of measure Top

Number of persons (thousands), percentages.


5. Reference Period Top

The EU-LFS is designed as a continuous quarterly survey with interviews spread uniformly over all weeks of a quarter. The reference week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. By convention, the first week of the year is the week including the first Thursday, and the 1st reference quarter consists of 13 consecutive weeks starting from that week. Therefore reference quarter corresponds to the calendar quarter. Exceptions are Ireland and the United Kingdom, which used until 2006 the seasonal quarter (Dec-Feb, Mar-May, Jun-Aug, Sep-Nov). Built in this way, the quarterly sample is spread uniformly over all weeks of the quarter.

Annual data encompass the four reference quarters in the year.

Before early 2000s the EU-LFS was conducted annually in spring, rather than quarterly. Spring was considered a period representative of the labour situation in the whole year. The changeover from an annual survey to a continuous, quarterly survey took place between 1998 and 2004, depending on the Member State. For more information on the transition to a quarterly continuous survey, please consult the EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Development and history.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

The European Union Labour Force Survey implementation is governed by legislative acts of the Council and Parliament, as well as of the Commission. The principal legislation is the Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98. This is the main regulation with provisions on design, survey characteristics and decision making processes. For more details on the regulations, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Main features and legal basis.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidentiality flags are added as defined in LFS, for further information see EU labour force survey – data and publication.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

LFS educational data are up-dated twice a year:

  • in spring along with the release of data for quarter 4 and averages of quarters 1 to 4,
  • in autumn with the release of LFS quarter 2 data.

Provisional data for t-1:

In February, some provisional data for t-1 are released for the headline indicators 'early leavers from education and training' and 'tertiary educational attainment'. The provisional data for t-1 are calculated based on the first three quarters of t-1 and the fourth quarter of t-2. The following datasets in the online database show these provisional results: edat_lfse_03, edat_lfse_14, edat_lfse_15.

8.2. Release calendar access

For LFS releases see here.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Annual.


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

The results are published in Statistics explained, in main Eurostat publications (e.g. the yearbook, Europe 2020 publications) and in several social publications of the European Commission.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to ESTAT-LFS-USER-SUPPORT@ec.europa.eu

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

EU-LFS anonymised microdata are available for research purposes. Please refer to access to microdata.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not available.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

For a detailed description of the methods and concepts used, as well as for other documents related to the EU-LFS, consult the EU-LFS webpage.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

For information on quality documentation please consult the EU-LFS webpage.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

EU-LFS statistics have overall a high quality. For further information please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Early leavers from education and training and tertiary educational attainment are important policy indicators. They are both Europe 2020 headline indicators; early leavers from education and training is also a Sustainable Development Indicator.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Not available.

12.3. Completeness

Even if otherwise adhering to the EU-regulations on the EU-LFS, countries do not always provide data for all the variables. This can be for various reasons, such as assessment that the variable in question is irrelevant to the labour market situation in the country or (temporary) inability to implement the variable in the national questionnaire.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

13.2. Sampling error

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Annual averages are released approximately 4 months after the end of the reference year.

14.2. Punctuality

Not available.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Introduction of the ISCED 2011 classification: data up to 2013 are based on ISCED 1997, as from 2014 ISCED 2011 is applied. Online tables present data for three aggregates (see 3.2 above), and at this level of aggregation data are directly comparable for all available countries except Austria and Estonia.

  • The level shift break in Austria is due to the reclassification of a programme spanning levels: the qualification acquired upon successful completion of higher technical and vocational colleges is allocated in ISCED 2011 to ISCED level 5; under ISCED 1997 the same qualification was reported on ISCED level 4, but earmarked as equivalent to tertiary education.
  • The level shift break in Estonia is due to the reclassification of a programme that can last between 6 months and 3.5 years: the qualification acquired upon successful completion of 'vocational courses based on basic education' is allocated in ISCED 2011 to ISCED level 2; under ISCED 1997 this was reported as level 3.

For other comparability issues please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Not applicable; there is no alternative source to calculate the same indicators with the same definitions.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The indicators early leavers from education and training and tertiary educational attainment as well as other educational data presented are based on EU-LFS data. They are therefore coherent with the main LFS results on employment and unemployment.


16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

The indicators 'early leavers from education and training' and 'tertiary educational attainment' as well as other data presented in this domain are calculated twice a year (spring, autumn: see 8.1. Release calendar). Each new release includes revisions of previous years submitted by countries. The February release of provisional data for t-1 also includes revisions of previous years in the tables concerned.

LFS revisions are not expected, unless major errors are identified in the data delivered or in their processing. Exceptional revisions may happen e.g. after new estimates of population from a population census.

17.2. Data revision - practice

For information on EU-LFS data revisions, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Data and publication.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Since the early 2000's, the survey has quarterly periodicity, previously it was an annual survey run in spring.

18.3. Data collection

Please refer to the ESMS on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.

18.4. Data validation

Prior to the dissemination of EU-LFS national data, Eurostat checks the quality and consistency of data transmitted by National Statistical Institutes. Eurostat calculates LFS results and they are then validated by the Member States. Afterwards they can be published.

18.5. Data compilation

The indicators for the Member States are calculated first, separately numerator and denominator. EU-LFS microdata are used for this purpose. The European aggregates are subsequently compiled by summing up country data in numerator and denominator, and finally the indicator percentage is calculated.

For further information see here.

18.6. Adjustment

In case of missing quarterly LFS data (before 2005), annual results are estimated by using interpolations of the EU Labour Force Survey data with reference to the available quarter(s). For further information see 3.1 above and here.


19. Comment Top

Not available.


Related metadata Top
lfsi_esms - LFS main indicators
employ_esms - Employment and unemployment (Labour force survey)


Annexes Top
Footnotes on LFS based education indicators and ISCED metadata