Employment rate by highest qualification

Employment rate of 16-64 year olds by highest qualification level (2020)

Employment rates are, on average, higher amongst people with higher levels of qualifications: for example, in 2020 89% of Londoners aged 16-64 with qualifications higher than A-levels (such as university degrees) were employed compared to 43% for people with no qualifications.

Across all but the highest qualification level and the category “Other qualification”, employment rates are higher in the rest of England than they are in London. However, a much larger proportion of working-age people in London have qualifications higher than A-levels - 59% in London compared to 39% in the rest of England - meaning that overall employment rates are similar.

There are a number of reasons why people may not be employed, including that they are studying, retired, looking after the home, sick or unemployed. As such, it is not necessarily a bad thing for any one individual to not be employed. However, given the close links between unemployment and poverty, lacking employment is (on average) a key indicator of likely poverty outcomes.