Finnish tertiary level slips below OECD average | New

The percentage of the population with a university degree has increased slightly in Finland since the turn of the millennium, but not as strongly as in other industrialized countries, according to OECD data.

A graduation procession for Åbo Akademi University in the city of Turku (file photo). Image: Nora Engström / Yle

Among the 38 member countries of the OECD, the percentage of people aged 25 to 34 with higher education rose from 27% to 48% in the first two decades of this century, the Ministry of Education said on Monday. Education and Culture.

In Finland, at the same time, the share of the age group with a university degree increased only slightly, from 39 to 40 %. As a result, Finland’s position has deteriorated compared to other industrialized countries.

At the turn of the millennium, Finland had one of the highest percentages of highly skilled young adults in the OECD, tied with the United States and South Korea. Last year, it fell significantly below the OECD average in Chile and Turkey.

A similar trend is developing among the wider working-age population, aged 25-64.

As recently as 2011, the share of people in this group with tertiary education in Finland was almost eight percentage points higher than the OECD average, with Finland at 39 .3% compared to the OECD average of 31.5%.

Last year, the latter figure had risen to 41.1% across the OECD, close to Finland’s share of 42.3%. This means that Finland has moved from the top quarter of OECD countries to the middle of the table.

Higher degrees lead to lower unemployment rates

The results are taken from the OECD Education at a Glance report, which this year focused on higher education.

The comparison does not take into account the quality of education, exam results or professional success, but simply the number of residents with higher education qualifications.

However, having a university degree gives young people strong advantages in the labor market, according to the OECD.

In 2021, the average unemployment rate for people with a tertiary education in OECD countries was 4%, compared to 6% for those who had only completed the second cycle of education secondary and 11% for those with a lower level of education.

“The dramatic increase in educational attainment offers a unique opportunity to fuel economic and social progress in our countries,” said the OECD Secretary-General. Mathias Corman said in a statement.

Higher education also tends to be correlated with higher salaries.

On average in OECD countries, tertiary education provides a salary advantage of 55% compared to a secondary diploma.

In Finland, that advantage was 34% – lower than the OECD average, but higher than other Nordic countries, the education ministry said.

“When comparing the wage premium to education, Finland is interestingly the only OECD country where a [university-level] diploma does not increase the salary compared to a basic diploma,” he added.

According to the ministry, only a quarter of Finnish higher education students are currently studying for postgraduate degrees at master’s level, while 69% are studying towards a bachelor’s degree.