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Non-nationals in EU more likely over-qualified than nationals

10.03.23 23:00
Employed non-nationals are more likely to be over-qualified than nationals for their job. In the EU in 2021, the over-qualification rate was 39.6% for non-EU citizens (-1.9 percentage points (pp) than in 2020) and 32.0% for citizens of other EU countries (-0.2 pp). By contrast, the over-qualification rate for nationals stood at 20.8%, 0.2 pp more than in 2020.

Across the EU members, in 2021, the highest share of over-qualified non-EU citizens was recorded in Greece (69.5%), followed by Italy (67.1%), Spain (57.0%), Estonia (46.4%) and Austria (46.2%). For citizens of other EU countries, the highest shares of over-qualified workers were also recorded in Cyprus (50.3%), Greece (48.2%), Italy (46.9%), Spain (46.2%) and Ireland (41.4%). The share of over-qualified employed nationals was the highest in Spain (34.5%), Greece (32.1%), Cyprus (29.5%), Ireland (26.8%) and Austria (26.2%), EuroStat reports.

Luxembourg reported the lowest over-qualification rates overall in 2021, regardless of the workers' citizenship, with 4.8% for over-qualified nationals, 5.5% for citizens of other EU countries and 8.2% for non-EU citizens.

Since 2023 is the European Year of Skills, these statistics might help to inform how people with a migrant background compare to home-country nationals or native-born in terms of skills and professional accomplishments in the labour market.

Gender gap for over-qualification of non-nationals was 3.9 pp higher than for nationals

Looking at the over-qualification rates by sex, data reveals that women represent higher over-qualification rates than men regardless the country of citizenship.

In 2021, the over-qualification rate among nationals was 1.0 pp higher for women than for men. The gap between the sexes was wider for female non-nationals, some 4.9 pp higher than the rate for male non-nationals; 4.1 pp for citizens of other EU countries and 6.3 pp for non-EU citizens.

Over-qualification rates for foreign citizens were higher among older than younger people

In terms of age, in 2021 in the EU, over-qualification rates for non-EU citizens and citizens of other EU countries were generally higher among people aged 35-64 years rather than younger (aged 20-34 years) people, whereas the situation for nationals was reversed.

The over-qualification rate was higher among non-EU citizens aged 35-64 years at 42.8% compared with 35.2% in the group of people aged 20-34 years (7.6 pp gap between age groups). For citizens of other EU countries, the gap was smaller at 3.0 pp, with 33.0% in the older age group compared with 30.0% in the younger group.

By contrast, the over-qualification rate for nationals was higher among people in the younger age group than it was for the older group, a difference of 3.9 pp.

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