VET can equip people with labour market relevant skills.

In combination with job-rich economic growth, it can contribute to raising employment levels. Raising the EU average employment rate for 20-64 year-olds to at least 75% is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy to which VET can contribute.

The indicator below is the percentage of the population aged 20-64 who are employed. The employed population consists of those persons who, during the reference week, did any work for pay or profit for at least one hour, or were not working but had jobs from which they were temporarily absent.

Figure 34     Employment rate for 20-64 year-olds (%)

Source: Eurostat, EU labour force survey.

Key points

In 2016, the EU average employment rate was 71.0%, 4 percentage points below the Europe 2020 target of 75%. In 2016, Sweden had the highest employment rate at 81.2%, followed by Germany (78.7%). The rate was lowest in Greece (56.2%). Several countries have national targets. By 2016, seven countries had reached their national target (the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden).

Between 2010 and 2016 the EU employment rate has increased by 2.4 percentage points. This EU average change covers quite large differences between Member States: over the same period, Hungary reported the largest rise (by 11.6 percentage points) in the employment rate, while Greece experienced the sharpest drop (by 7.6 percentage points).

Among the non-EU countries for which data are available, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (53.3%) and Turkey (54.4%) had the lowest employment rates (below the rate in Greece), while Iceland (87.8%) and Switzerland (83.3%) had employment rates higher than any of the EU Member States.

Table 34      Employment rate for 20-64 year-olds (%)

Arrows ↗ or ↘ signal a positive or negative trend based on more than two data points and of magnitude 0.1 per year or more. Trends based on more than two data points but of smaller magnitude are indicated by →; trends based on two points only are marked ▪. Trends are estimated by means of regression models.
(b) Break after 2010. Therefore baseline data not included. (u) Eurostat: "low reliability". (z) Eurostat: "not applicable". (e) Eurostat: "estimated".
(T) IE: target 69-71%; IT: target 67-69%; CY: target 75-77%; AT: target 77-78%.

Source: Eurostat, EU labour force survey.

Data insights details

Related Theme


Annex 1: short description of indicators and additional notes


Annex 2: Reading the indicator statistical overviews