Northern Ireland

Fifth of NI workforce 'under-educated'

Students with laptops on a bench Image copyright Getty Images

Almost one in five workers in Northern Ireland are under-educated for the job they are doing, research suggests.

An under-educated worker is one whose highest qualification is below the average level of educational attainment for their job.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Northern Ireland's under-education rate of 18.1% is the second highest of the 12 UK regions.

The ONS study examined the workforce between 2006 and 2017.

It showed the West Midlands has the highest level of undereducated workers (18.4%) and London has the lowest (12.3%).

In recent years the rate of under-education in Northern Ireland has been coming down, having reached almost 22% in 2011.

The relatively high rate of under-educated workers in Northern Ireland may reflect a broader weakness in the region's skills base.

In Northern Ireland, 34% of the working age population are educated to university degree standard or an equivalent level.

That compares to 47% in Scotland, 44% in England and 37% in Wales.