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Which regions have the most highly skilled employed people?

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Highly-skilled workers are essential to modern economies, driving innovation, productivity and growth. Employed people with high skills are defined as people aged 25–64 who are employed in the following occupations: managers, professionals, technicians and associate professionals.

In 2022, there were approximately 80 million highly skilled people employed across the EU, accounting for 44.2% of the total number of people employed aged 25–64. 

The distribution of highly skilled employed people at regional level varied a lot. 106 out of the 241 reported regions were equal to or above the EU average. 

In 53 regions across the EU, at least half of the employed persons were considered highly skilled, with the highest shares registered in capital regions and other urban regions. In particular, 12 out of the 14 regions across the EU with the highest shares of highly skilled employed people were capital regions. 

In 2022, the highest regional shares of highly skilled employment were recorded in Stockholm (Sweden, 73.6%), Utrecht (the Netherlands, 68.9%), Luxembourg (67.4%) and Prov. Brabant Wallon (Belgium, 65.8%). The capital regions of Belgium, France, Lithuania, Hungary, Finland, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Czechia, followed with shares varying between 62.6% and 65.6%. 

The rural regions, the former industrial heartlands, as well as the outermost and peripheral regions, are among the EU regions with lower shares of highly skilled individuals. In 2022, there were 24 regions in the EU where highly skilled employed people accounted for less than 29.5% of total employment among those aged 25–64. These regions were principally concentrated in the south-eastern corner of Europe: 10 regions in Greece, 6 in Romania and 4 in Bulgaria; it also included 3 sparsely-populated regions in the southern half of Spain and Panonska Hrvatska in Croatia.

The lowest shares of highly skilled employed people were recorded in the Greek regions Sterea Elláda (21.8%) and Ionia Nisia (22.3%), as well as in the Romanian region of Sud-Muntenia (22.8%). 

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Would you like to know more about highly skilled employed people in the EU?

You can read more in the dedicated chapter in theEurostat regional yearbook – 2023 edition, also available as a Statistics Explained article. The corresponding map in the Statistical Atlasprovides a full-screen interactive map. 

More information

Methodological notes

  • Employed people with high skills are defined as people aged 25–64 who are employed in the following occupations: managers; professionals; or technicians and associate professionals (ISCO-08 major groups 1–3.
  • In this article, the regional data are presented at NUTS 2 level.

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