According to the Bruges communiqué, the ageing European teacher and trainer population, combined with changes in labour markets and working environments, have made improvements in initial and continuing training for teachers and trainers necessary.

The indicator considered here is the number of upper secondary teachers aged 50 and over (as % of all upper secondary teachers). It is calculated generally (overall figures) and specifically (separately for general and vocational education).

Ageing IVET teachers

Source: Cedefop calculations based on Eurostat, UOE.


Key points:

  • Based on available data, in vocational upper secondary education, the share of older teachers (teachers aged 50 and over) ranges across EU countries from 26% to 54% (data refer to 2009 and are available for 18 Member States).
  • In vocational upper secondary education, the share of older teachers is bigger than 30% in 14 of 18 countries and close to that in the remaining four countries. Shares are highest in the Netherlands and Latvia (more than 50%) and lowest in Slovenia (29%), Poland (27%), Luxembourg and Malta (26%).
  • In 15 of 18 countries, the share of older teachers is higher in the vocational stream than in the general stream. Particularly, in seven countries, there are differences by eight or more percentage points between general and vocational education (in the Netherlands, Hungary, United Kingdom, Finland, Cyprus, Slovakia and Latvia).
  • In almost all countries for which data are available, the share of workers aged 50 and over is higher among upper secondary teachers than among all workers (average of all occupations, based on 2009 LFS data). This applies to both general and vocational upper secondary teachers.
  • Between 2004 and 2009, in vocational upper secondary education, the share of older teachers increased in 10 of 15 countries for which data are available (increases between four and 14 percentage points). The value was relatively stable in five countries: France, Malta and Sweden (slight drops of about one percentage point) as well as in Hungary and the United Kingdom (slight drops of about two percentage points).
  • Over the same period, general education was characterised by similar country trends. However, particular dynamics can be spotted in Malta and Sweden (where shares of older teachers decreased in general education, they remained stable in the vocational stream). In Finland, the share of older teachers decreased in general education, but increased in the vocational stream.


Data originate from the Unesco-OECD-Eurostat (UOE) data collection on education systems and are subject to its methodology. Data were processed by Cedefop and provided by Eurostat on 26 July 2011.  Possible differences in national VET systems should be considered when interpreting the data. More information on each country’s VET system can be found in Cedefop’s VET in Europe database.