European and national policies on Vocational Education and Training (VET) need to be informed by sound and internationally comparable statistical evidence. The VET country statistical overviews are concise, descriptive and user friendly statistical reports. For each country, they quantify and compare key aspects of VET and lifelong learning. The selection is based on the indicators' policy relevance and their importance in achieving the Europe 2020 objectives.

VET indicators for Portugal for the last available year
Index numbers (EU=100)

NB:   The index numbers are derived from data summarised in the table. Data in the table have been rounded to one or two decimal places. The calculation of index numbers is instead based on not rounded data.

Portugal’s performance on a range of indicators selected to monitor progress in VET and lifelong learning across the European Union (EU) is summarised below. The chart compares the situation in Portugal with that of the EU, based on the most recent data available (this differs by indicator). Data in the chart are presented as an index where the EU average equals 100. If the index for a selected indicator for Portugal is 100, then its performance equals the EU average. If the index is 90, its performance is 90% of (or 10% below) the EU average. If the index is 200, Portugal’s performance is twice (or 200%) the EU average. For some indicators, such as early leavers from education and training, a country is performing better if its score is below that of the EU average.

Data on which the index is calculated are presented in the table, which also shows developments over time. A technical definition of each indicator is provided in the annex.

Key points

Access, attractiveness and flexibility

In 2015, the percentage of upper secondary students enrolled in IVET in Portugal (44.9%) is a little lower than the EU average of 47.3%. Nearly all upper secondary IVET students in Portugal are in programmes giving direct access to tertiary education (99.9%), in contrast with the EU as a whole (at 66.7%).

CVTS data for 2010 show that employee participation in CVT courses (40%) is above the EU average of 38%; enterprise provision of training (65%) and employee participation in on-the-job training (20%) are also close, or equal to the EU average (66% and 20% respectively).

At 9.6%, adult participation in lifelong learning in 2016 is close to the EU average of 10.8%. Both percentages are well below the average target (15%) set by the strategic framework Education and training 2020. The percentage of young VET graduates in further education and training is below the EU average (26.7% in Portugal against 32.8% in the EU, based on 2015 data).

Skill development and labour market relevance

At 47.8% (44.8% in the EU) Portugal scores higher than the EU in the percentage of innovative enterprises with supportive training practices, and also in the percentage of workers with skills matched to their duties (76% compared with 58% in the EU). The percentage of graduates in STEM subjects from upper secondary IVET (30.4%) is close to the EU average (30.8%).

The employment rate for IVET graduates (aged 20 to 34) at ISCED levels 3-5 (78.2%) is very close to the EU average of 78.1%. Their employment rate is 3.7 percentage points lower than that for graduates from general education, whereas on average and in most countries, it is higher. In addition, their  employment rate is only 5.4 percentage points higher than that for graduates with lower-level qualifications (which is well below the corresponding EU average difference of 23.4). All these employment figures relate to 2016 and exclude young people in further education and training.

Overall transitions and labour market trends

In this section all data refer to 2016 unless otherwise stated.

The share of early leavers from education and training at 14.0% is higher than the EU average of 10.7%. Although this share has decreased considerably between 2011 and 2016, by 9.0 percentage points, it is still higher than the Europe 2020 average target and the national target (both set at 10%). The percentage of 30 to 34 year-olds who have completed tertiary-level education is 34.6%, which is below the EU average of 39.1% and the Europe 2020 average and national targets (both set at 40%). Educational attainment of adults is low and the difference between Portugal and the EU average in the share of adults who have lower-level education is substantial (53.1% compared with 23.0% in the EU). But the employment rate of 20 to 64 year-olds with a low level of educational attainment is higher in Portugal (64.7%) than in the EU (53.6%).

At 14.9%, Portugal is slightly below the European average in the NEET rate for 18 to 24 year-olds (15.2%). The unemployment rate of 20 to 34 year-olds (at 15.6%) is higher than the European average (at 11.8%). At 73.8%, the employment rate of recent graduates is below the European average of 78.2%.

Score on VET indicators in the Portugal and in the EU, 2010,
last available year and recent change

EU refers to EU-28, unless otherwise specified. Arrows ↗ or ↘ signal a positive or negative change. Arrow → indicates: no change.

(A) UOE back reconstruction of 2010 values based on ISCED 2011 not yet available. (B) AES 2011, used as proxy for 2010 baseline. (C) 2014 b flags in Eurostat online tables ignored on the basis of other relevant Eurostat metadata. (D) Forecast made in 2016. (E1) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for NL. (E2) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for EL, ES, NL, PL, RO. (E3) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for IT, NL. (E4) Based on 23 countries (missing: DK, EL, HR, IT, PT), with partial information for IE and FR. (E5) Based on 23 countries (missing: DK, EL, HR, IT, PT), with partial information for IE and FR. (E6) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for DK, EL, NL. (E7) Based on 25 countries (missing: HR, IT, UK), with partial information for BE, CZ, DK, DE, EE, EL, LU, NL, PL, SE. (E8) Based on 25 countries (missing: IE, FR, UK), with partial information for BE, EL, LU. (E9) Based on 26 countries (missing: IE, UK), with partial information for DK, DE. (E10) Based on 28 countries. (b) Break after 2010, therefore baseline data not included. (u) Eurostat: ‘low reliability’. (z) Eurostat: ‘not applicable’. (e) Eurostat: ‘estimated’.

Country-specific report details

Country report type


Statistical overviews on VET - Portugal - 2017

EN 191.68 KB

Annex 1 – Short descriptions of indicators and additional notes

EN 74.35 KB

Annex 2 – Reading the Country statistical overviews

EN 39.5 KB

Annex 3 – 2017 Masterfile Country statistical overviews

EN 488.58 KB