Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Education – Continuously improving education and vocational training

Indicator 4.1.b: Persons with an academic or higher vocational qualification

(30 to 34-year-olds with a tertiary or post-secondary non-tertiary level of education)

(Evaluation of the development of Germany in the reporting year 2019 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

Selection

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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator specifies the proportion of 30 to 34-year-olds who hold a certificate from the tertiary education sector (levels 5 to 8 of ISCED 2011) or a post-secondary non-tertiary certificate (ISCED level 4).

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

Developed economies like Germany’s, in which the service sector and the demand for knowledge and expertise are becoming increasingly important, need a highly skilled labour force. According to the updated national sustainable development targets, 55% of 30 to 34-year-olds are to possess a tertiary or other post-secondary qualification by 2030.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

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Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

The definition of the indicator is linked to the tradition of a dual system of vocational training in Germany. Besides the tertiary diplomas awarded by universities, universities of applied sciences, colleges of public administration, vocational academies, technical colleges and specialised academies and master craftsmen’s and technician’s diplomas, there are numerous post-secondary non-tertiary certificates nationwide. In general terms, these include all certificates awarded on completion of post-Abitur vocational courses but also qualifications in health professions obtained by students who do not have an Abitur, for example on completion of training as a medical laboratory technician.

The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) serves as the basis for international comparison of statistics and indicators regarding educational certificates. Certificates regarded as equivalents are assigned to the same ISCED level. The indicator therefore covers both the tertiary diplomas corresponding to ISCED levels 5 to 8 and the post-secondary non-tertiary certificates corresponding to ISCED level 4.

The data used for the indicator are obtained from the microcensus, which is based on an annual sample survey covering 1% of the population. Additional information is provided by the higher education statistics, which are likewise compiled by the Federal Statistical Office.

From 33.4% in 1999, the indicator rose 17.1 percentage points to 50.5% by 2019. If the average growth rate of the last five reference years is maintained, the target value of 55% could be achieved considerably earlier than 2030. The relation between the gender-specific percentages has changed over time. In 1999, the indicator for men was 3.8 percentage points higher than for women. In 2006, the values were the same for both sexes. Since 2007, the percentage of women with a tertiary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification has been higher that of men. If the average trend of the past five reference years is examined for these figures too, it emerges that the proportion of women qualified to these levels, having reached 54.4% in 2019, could already overachieve the 55% target in 2020. While the proportion of men, which was 46.8% in 2019, would reach the target a good bit later.

In many other countries there are no post-secondary non-tertiary qualifications. For this reason, the indicator used for the Europe 2020 strategy of the European Union is more narrowly defined and takes only tertiary diplomas (ISCED levels 5 to 8) into account.

Following a steady increase since 2005, the indicator for the EU-28 reached a total of 41.6% in 2019. When this more narrowly defined indicator is applied to Germany, the figure for 2019 comes to 35.5%, which is 6.1 percentage points below the EU value. In 2019, the proportion of women, at 36.0%, was slightly higher than that of men (35.1%).

The total number of graduates of institutions of higher education in 2019 was 512,285. This was more than twice as many as in 1999. They included 131,989 engineering graduates (three times as many as in 1999) and 55,555 graduates in mathematics and science (70.7 % more than in 1999).

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Indicator

4.1.b Persons with an academic or higher vocational qualification (30 to 34-year-olds with a tertiary or post-secondary non-tertiary level of education)

Target

Increase the proportion to 55% by 2030

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

Evaluation Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich

 Federal Statistical Office

Organisation

Federal Statistical Office