The impact of education on wages and labour productivity


According to CEDEFOP, 25% of young European tertiary education graduates in 2019 were overqualified, and the share of EU workers with skills that did not match their jobs reached 45%. This mismatch, especially in the green and digital fields, affects EU growth and competitiveness.

Moreover, citizens with only upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education earn around one third less than those who have tertiary education. However, education is not the only factor influencing wages. Country differences, gender and age inequality also have a significant influence.

Focusing on adult learning is essential, as lifelong learning and skills development are key elements for economic growth and social cohesion.

Key points:


  • believes that tackling the skills-related challenges will require significant political efforts and systemic reforms in education and training, as well as smart investments in human capital from both public and private sources; social partners, education providers and CSOs should work together to design skill strategies that best respond to the needs of the labour market and society in general;
  • points out the importance of improving EU and Member State initiatives regarding employee training in the workplace and creating the right incentives for employers to continue investing in training their workforce, with the involvement of social partners;
  • reiterates that the role and profile of vocational education and training should continue to be strengthened to further develop dual systems to also train people in basic, transversal and STEM skills.

The text of the adopted opinion can be found here.

Additional information

Section: Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC)

Opinion number: SOC/769

Opinion type: own-initiative opinion

Rapporteur: Linda ROMELE

Reference: Rule 52(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Date of adoption by section: 4/10/2023

Result of the vote: 80 in favour/0 against/4 abstentions

Date of adoption in plenary: 25/10/2023

Result of the vote: 207 in favour/3 against/7 abstentions



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