19 January 2004
In the EU in 2001 there were almost 2 million new graduates from tertiary education1, that is on average 40 new graduates per 1000 population aged 20-29 years old. In the Acceding Countries 2, there were 630 000 new graduates or 55 per 1000 population aged 20-29 years old. Of new tertiary graduates, 26% were in a science and/or engineering3 field in the EU , compared to 13% in the Acceding Countries .
With more than 30% of total graduates in tertiary education in science or engineering, Sweden , Ireland and France recorded the highest values among Member States. Slovakia , Lithuania (both 26%) and the Czech Republic (23%) did so for Acceding Countries.
This information comes from a report4 published today by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities .
Engineering more popular than science in both the EU and Acceding Countries
Of the new graduates from tertiary education in the EU in 2001 11% were in science and 15% in engineering, manufacturing and construction, compared with 4% and 9% respectively in the Acceding Countries . All Member States, except Ireland and the United Kingdom , and all the Acceding Countries show higher percentages of graduates for engineering than for science.
Ireland and France recorded the highest percentages of graduates in science with 20% and 15% of total graduates respectively while the lowest were registered in Portugal and the Netherlands (both 5%). With regard to engineering, highest values were observed in Sweden , Austria and Finland with 20% or more of total graduates in this field, compared to around 10% in the United Kingdom and Belgium .
Among the Acceding Countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia recorded the highest proportion of science graduates, with 11% and 9% respectively, and Hungary (2%) and Malta (4%) the lowest. In engineering, Lithuania had the highest percentage of graduates with 21%, followed by Slovakia and Slovenia (17% each). Meanwhile, Malta and Cyprus recorded the lowest values, with 5% and 6% respectively.
Under-representation of women in Science and Engineering graduates
The proportion of women in total tertiary education graduates is higher than for men in the EU and the Acceding Countries , but it is the opposite in science and engineering, where the majority of graduates are men. The only exceptions concerned graduates in science in Portugal , Italy , Poland , Latvia and Lithuania , where the proportion of women in 2001 varied between 52% and 59%.
All Member States and Acceding Countries, except the Czech Republic , showed a lower proportion of women graduating in engineering than in science. The highest proportions of women graduates in engineering were observed in Portugal , Lithuania , Slovakia and Latvia and ranged from 30% to 35%.
The proportion of women graduates in total graduates is higher on average in the Acceding Countries than in the EU for both science (48% compared to 41%) and engineering (26% and 21%).
' Total graduates ' Of which in science ' Of which in engineering, [Table and further information]