Employment status and qualifications

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 3 May 2018

Employment by qualification over time

What does this chart show?

This graph shows the proportion of the working-age population who are in employment, or unemployed and lacking but wanting work, by educational attainment.* Those who are lacking but wanting work are economically inactive and not available to work for various reasons (such as being a student or ill). They are not counted as unemployed.

In 2016 the employment rate for each group had increased compared with 2011. Among workers with a degree or equivalent, the employment rate was 86% in 2016 compared with 83% in 2011. For those with no or unknown qualifications the employment rate was less than half of this in 2016 at 40% and 38% in 2011.

The employment rate increased the most for those with A-levels or equivalent and those with other qualifications. For workers with A-levels or equivalent the employment rate increased by 6 percentage points to 67% in 2016, and for workers with other qualifications the employment rate increased by 7 percentage points to 67% in 2016.** Levels of unemployment and the proportion of people who were lacking work but who wanted to work decreased between 2011 and 2016. Those with a degree or equivalent make up 45% of the working-age population in London, so despite having low levels of unemployment and economic inactivity they account for a quarter (24% or 380,000) of those who are workless. Other large groups are those with GCSE grades A* – C or equivalent who account for 330,000 (21%) of those who are workless and those with A-levels or equivalent who account for 320,000 of those who are workless.

From a poverty perspective, despite the fact London is increasingly well educated, good outcomes also require decent employment opportunities for those with lower levels of education, as well as support for retraining. 

* In this categorisation higher education is equivalent to NVQ level 4 or a diploma in higher education. A-level or equivalent is NVQ level 3 and Degree or equivalent is NVQ level 5.

** The numbers differ due to rounding.