Lifelong learning


Employed, unemployed and inactive people

The survey is harmonised at European level. The definitions regarding employment and unemployment that are mentioned are those of the International Labour Office (ILO) to allow international comparison.

People with a job (employed people) comprise all people who during the reference week performed some work ‘for wage or salary’ or ‘for profit’ regardless of the duration (even if this was only one hour), or who had a job but were temporarily absent. For example, one can be temporarily absent for holidays, illness, technical or economic reasons (temporary unemployment),....

Family workers are also included in the category ‘employed’. Since 2021, people who have been temporarily unemployed for an uninterrupted period of more than three months are counted as unemployed or inactive, and no longer as employed.

The unemployed comprise all people who:

(a) during the reference week were without work, i.e. were not in paid employment or self-employment;

(b) were available for work, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment within two weeks after the reference week;

(c) were actively seeking work, i.e. had taken specific steps during the last four weeks including the reference week to seek paid employment or self-employment, or who had found a job to start within a maximum period of three months.

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is measured using the percentage of the population that attended formal or non-formal education in the last 12 months or 4 weeks.

Formal education is education that is recognised by the ministries of education and usually leads to a diploma or certificate such as a master's degree or a training course in adult education. 

Non-formal education is education outside this context but still organised in a structured way, e.g. a course on health organised by the health insurance fund or a webinar on time management organised by a self-employed. 

Self-study and informal learning are not included.

Level of education

The level of education is measured using a detailed questionnaire, and the people are then divided into three groups.

Low-skilled people are people who list lower secondary education as their highest level of education. Medium-skilled people  are people who obtained a diploma of higher secondary education but not of higher education. High-skilled people obtained a diploma of higher education.