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EU's Employment Rate Exceeds 75 Percent in 2023

In 2023, more than 75 percent (195.7 million) of the EU’s 20 to 64-year-olds were employed, the highest share recorded since the start of the time series in 2009. This marks three consecutive years of growth after a drop to 72 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This information comes from the data on the labour market published recently by Eurostat. This article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.

Among the EU countries, the highest employment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (84 percent), Sweden (83 percent) and Estonia (82 percent). The lowest rates were recorded in Italy (66 percent), Greece (67 percent) and Romania (69 percent).

In 2023, the EU over-qualification rate was 22 percent, with 21 percent for men and 23 percent for women. Over-qualification is when people with tertiary education are employed in occupations that do not require such a high level of education.

Among the EU countries, the over-qualification rate was highest in Spain (36 percent), followed by Greece (31 percent) and Cyprus (30 percent).

Meanwhile, Luxembourg (5 percent), Denmark and Czechia (each 13 percent) recorded the lowest rates. 

In 18 of the 27 EU countries, women had higher over-qualification rates than men, with the largest differences recorded in Malta and Slovakia (both +8 percentage points (pp)) and Italy (+7 pp). 

However, in nine EU countries, men had higher over-qualification rates, with the biggest differences recorded in Lithuania (+5 pp), Latvia (+4 pp) and Bulgaria (+3 pp).