University degree-holders treble over 40 years – Report

The number of people with university degrees in the Netherlands has trebled in the last 40 years, according to a new report by statistics agency CBS, reports

More than one in three people (36%) are classed as ‘higher educated’, meaning they have graduated with an undergraduate degree or diploma. In 1981 the proportion was one in nine (11%). At the same time, the proportion of ‘low educated’ workers, with a practical qualification, has fallen to 26% of the population, while the ‘medium educated’ group accounts for the remaining 38%.

IT, management and healthcare were the most popular career choices for graduates, while the number of graduate social workers has also increased. CBS said the development reflected the Netherlands’ and the European Union’s strategy of becoming a ‘knowledge economy’ built on research and development, as tasks previously carried out by low-skilled workers are increasingly automated. However, there was also growing demand for skilled manual workers such as plumbers, builders and hospital staff, leading to questions about whether the balance had tipped too far towards theoretical education at the expense of practical training.
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