15 Countries With The Most Educated Workforces

Post-secondary education is linked to employment in most countries.
Post-secondary education is linked to employment in most countries.

The Importance Of An Educated Workforce

Having an educated workforce is beneficial to the development and economic growth of a country. Research has shown that people with a higher level of education are less likely to be unemployed, more likely to earn a higher salary, and more likely to be productive. These factors work together to give the economy within a country a more competitive edge on the global market. This article takes a closer look at some of the countries with the most educated workforces around the world.

Countries With The Most Educated Workforces


Canada leads the way in terms of having a highly educated workforce. In this country, just over half (52%) of all adults have a tertiary level education, which means studies beyond high school level. In 2011, the government allocated $23,226 of the national budget per student for their educational attainment. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) administers the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) every year. High school students in Canada performed better than the majority of other countries in the subject of math. Additionally, among OECD countries, around 12% of adults have the highest level of literacy proficiency. Adults in Canada, however, test at 15%. This high level of educational attainment correlates to the country’s economy, which has a consistent annual growth rate of 2.3%. In Canada, 81.5% of people with a university level education are employed, whereas only 55.8% of people without tertiary education are employed.


The second highest level of education can be found in Luxembourg, where 48% of adults have attained a post-high school level education. Among OECD countries, Luxembourg allocates the highest amount of its national budget to students at all levels of educational attainment. These costs are recorded as 3 times the OECD average. Because of its dedication to having an educated workforce, this country has the second lowest percentage (only 8%) of unemployed and uneducated youth (known as NEET’s). Only 3% of individuals with a tertiary education are unemployed in Luxembourg, while 6% of those who did not finish high school are unemployed. Additionally, these highly educated individuals are able to earn salaries that are 161% more than those with secondary education or less.


Ukraine has the third highest percentage of highly educated workforces around the world. Here, 46% of adults have achieved a tertiary level education. The way education affects the economy of Ukraine is somewhat hindered by political problems within the country. While its high level of educated is not currently reflected in the economy, it will be a key factor in helping the country move forward economically. This country has the highest number of engineering graduates in Europe, the 4th highest number of certified IT professionals in the world, and the capacity to produce and engineer a full range of aerospace hardware. Labor wages, however, are currently very low in Ukraine, only $379 per month for 11 years of schooling compared to $1,114 in Hungary for 11.6 years of schooling. Some economists expect this low wage and the country’s location to attract foreign direct investment from the European Union.

Other Highly Educated Workforces

These are just 3 of the countries with the most educated workforces. The chart published below offers a more complete look at other highly educated countries around the world.

15 Countries With The Most Educated Workforces

RankCountry % of Labor Force with Tertiary Education
1Canada 52
2Luxembourg 48
3Ukraine 46
4Cyprus 43
5Ireland 42
6Norway 42
7Belgium 42
8Finland 41
9United Kingdom 40
10Lithuania 40
11Estonia 40
12Switzerland 38
13Spain 37
14Sweden 37
15France 37

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