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Spain is the country in the European Union with the most overqualified workers for their jobs

In Spain, 70.

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Spain is the country in the European Union with the most overqualified workers for their jobs

In Spain, 70.7% of people aged 20 to 64 work, but 36% are overqualified for their job, the highest rate in Europe. The latest Eurostat statistics indicate that the average rate of academic overqualification in the current job is 22% in 2023, being two percentage points higher for women (23%) than for men (21%).

The latest report in this regard that Eurostat has just published refers to people who have higher education, usually university, who perform a job that does not require such a high level of education.

The European statistics office attributes to Spain (36%) the highest rate by far compared to its European partners, followed by Greece (31%) and Cyprus (30%). These percentages contrast enormously with that of the European countries where this situation is exceptional: Luxembourg (5%), Denmark and the Czech Republic (both with 13%).

In all member countries, overqualification rates have remained at the same levels for more than two decades, including Spain, where the rate does not drop below 30%.

This situation has persisted since the 2008 crisis and has even worsened: in 2011, Spain already had the highest overqualification rate in the entire EU, 31%, far exceeding the community average which was then 19% and now it reaches 23%. Several years later, after the economic recovery, more than half of the jobs created since 2013 were overqualified.

After Spain, Ireland (with 29%) and Cyprus (27%) are the Member States with the highest percentage of overqualified workers, compared to the Czech Republic and Slovenia (7%), which register the lowest rates, according to a study by the Eurostat statistical office.

In the large eurozone countries, the overqualification rate among adults aged between 25 and 54 is around the EU average, except in the case of Italy where it is much lower (13%). Germany and the United Kingdom reach 20%, and France registers 19%. Eurostat data corresponds to the year 2008.

Overqualification is even more serious in the case of foreign workers in Spain, a group in which it reaches 58%. Only foreign workers in Greece suffer a higher overqualification rate (62%).

The Eurostat report highlights the large differences in Spain - and also in the rest of the Member States - between native and foreign workers, not only in terms of overqualification but also in terms of risk of poverty (which affects 18% of natives and 32% of foreigners) or the probability of residing in overcrowded housing (3% compared to 12%).

Women were more overqualified than men in 18 of the 27 member countries, with the largest gender differences in Slovakia and Malta, both with a gap of more than 8%, and Italy (more than 7%).

Of the nine countries in which the opposite situation occurred, that is, more overqualified men than women in their current position, the largest differences were observed in Lithuania (more than 5 percentage points), Latvia (4 percentage points) and Bulgaria ( 3).

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