52 percent of young people in Switzerland now have university or college degrees

52 percent of young people in Switzerland now have university or college degrees

A new study by the Swiss government has found that the number of young people who have qualifications from universities or institutes of higher education has doubled since 2000. More than half of those living in the alpine nation aged 25 to 34 have graduated from some form of tertiary education.

More than half of young people have university or college degrees

At a press conference, Education Minister Guy Parmelin announced that more than one in two people (52 percent) aged 25 to 34 now have a university degree or a higher vocational qualification. The number of young people in Switzerland who chose to go beyond primary and secondary education has doubled since the beginning of the millennium.

Parmelin told Blick that women now hold a solid majority in universities and vocational schools. In 2021, women made up 57 percent of university and college graduates in Switzerland, up from 42 percent in 1980.

In comparison to other countries in the OECD, Switzerland has a very high rate of graduation. In Italy, for example, only 30 percent of citizens have graduated from tertiary education - although the alpine nation is well behind South Korea, where 70 percent of citizens attend and graduate from university or vocational school.

High graduation rates thanks to Swiss apprentice system and skills shortage

Parmelin said that Switzerland’s high education rate is thanks to the country’s education system which allows apprentices to specialise further without having to go through the rigorous gymnasium system - around a quarter of apprentices choose to pursue higher education. As an example, he cited himself - he completed an apprenticeship as a farmer before specialising to become a master vintner in Canton Vaud, before joining the Grand Council of the canton in 1994.

Another factor behind the rise, according to Parmelin, is that more jobs in Switzerland now require degrees and specialisation - for example, up until the 1990s, childcare and some school teaching positions did not require an official degree. Finally, the minister argued that the skills shortage in the country is also a factor, as the most high-demand positions, and the ones with the highest salaries, are those that require tertiary education.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment