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Non-Nationals Are More Overqualified for EU Employment Than Nationals & Other EU Citizens

Employed non-nationals are more likely than nationals to be over-qualified for their jobs, with non-EU employees being particularly affected by this tendency.

According to Eurostat, the European Statistical Office, the over-qualification percentage was 39.6% among non-EU citizens and 32% among citizens of other EU nations. In general, the over-qualification rate for nationals was 20.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the 2020 level.

Over-qualification rates for non-EU citizens have decreased by 1.9 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points for citizens of other EU countries, while they have grown for nationals by 0.2 percentage points since 2020.

The biggest proportion of overqualified employees was found in Greece, where 69.5 percent of non-EU citizen employees are overqualified for the position, followed by Italy (67.1 percent), Spain (57%), Estonia (46.4 percent), and Austria (46.2 per cent).

According to EU nationals from any EU member, Cyprus had the greatest proportion of over-qualification (50.3%), followed by Greece (48.2%), Italy (46.9%), Spain (46.2%), and Ireland (46.2%). (41.4 per cent).

Spain and Greece, on the other hand, have the greatest rates of over-qualified employed nationals (34.5 and 32.1 percent, respectively), followed by Cyprus (29.5 percent), Ireland (26.8 percent), and Austria (26.2 per cent).

According to Eurostat data, Luxembourg has the lowest over-qualification rates for 2021: 4.8% for over-qualified nationals, 5.5% for citizens, and 8.2% for non-EU citizens.

Over-qualification for non-EU citizens and citizens of other EU nations was higher among those aged 35 to 64, rather than younger people aged 20 to 34, whereas the situation is inverted for nationals.

“The over-qualification rate was higher among non-EU citizens aged 35-64 years at 42.8 per cent compared with 35.2 per cent in the group of people aged 20-34 years (7.6 percentage points gap between age groups). For citizens of other EU countries, the gap was smaller at three percentage points, with 33 per cent in the older age group compared with 30 per cent in the younger group,” Eurostat explains. 

Over-qualification was higher for those in their younger age groups among EU nationals, with a 3.9 percentage point difference.

In terms of gender, the over-qualification rate for women was one percentage point greater than for males. The disparity is more pronounced among non-nationals, with women outperforming men by 4.9 percent, inhabitants of other EU nations by 4.1 percentage points, and non-EU citizens by 6.3 percentage points.



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