In 2020, in the EU, 9 in 10 people aged 15-19 years were still in education (89.5%). The older the age group, the smaller the proportion of young people in education: 49.5% of people aged 20-24 years, 14.4% of people aged 25-29 years and 4.8% of those aged 30-34 years were in education in 2020.

Bar chart: Young people by participation in education and/or the labour market, EU, 2020, % the population


Share of employment among students: highest in the Netherlands and lowest in Slovakia and Romania

The pace of transition from school to the labour market varies across the EU Member States, due to the influence of national systems of education and training, as well as other factors including national labour market characteristics and cultural determinants. In some countries, young people start working much earlier than in others, e.g. in the form of student jobs or paid traineeships.

In 2020, 18.4 % of people aged between 15-24 years in the EU were in education and at the same time employed, while 2.5% of the same age group were in education but unemployed, looking for a job while studying.

When compared with 2019, the number of people aged between 15-24 years who were in education and employed at the same time decreased by 3% (from 6.1 million in 2019 to 5.9 million in 2020). Meanwhile, the number of people aged between 15-24 years in education and unemployed at the same time increased by 16% (from 0.7 million in 2019 to 0.8 million in 2020).

Among the EU Member States, the Netherlands had the highest share of pupils and students aged between 15-24 years that were employed while still in education in 2020 (57.8%), followed by Denmark (45.8%), Germany (38.7%) and Austria (35.2 %). In contrast, the lowest shares of employment among pupils and students aged 15-24 were found in Croatia and Hungary (both 3.3%), Italy (3.0%), Slovakia and Romania (both 2.5%).

The highest share of pupils and students aged 15-24 who were unemployed (meaning that they were looking for a job and ready to start to work while studying) was recorded in Sweden (12.1%), followed by Finland (9.5%), Denmark and the Netherlands (both 6.3%). On the other hand, in Slovenia, Italy, Romania, Czechia and Croatia, less than 1% of pupils and students in that age group were unemployed.

Bar chart: Young people in formal education by labour market status, EU, EU Member States and EFTA countries, 2020,% of the population in formal education, age group 15-24


For more information:

  • See the Statistics Explained articles Participation of young people in education and the labour market and Youth unemployment
  • In Germany, since the first quarter of 2020, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) has been integrated into the newly designed German micro census as a subsample. For the LFS, technical issues and the COVID-19 crisis has had a large impact on the data collection processes, resulting in low response rates and a biased sample. The published German data are preliminary and may be revised in the future. For more information, see here.