Early school-leavers are three times more likely to end up unemployed than other young people who remain in education.
That's according to latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed that in the second quarter of this year, one quarter of those aged between 18 and 24 who left school early were unemployed compared to just 8% of those who stayed on in education.
The report on educational attainment levels in Ireland shows that higher educational attainment levels are directly linked with higher employment rates.
The CSO data found that people aged between 25 and 64 with a third-level qualification were more than twice as likely to be employed (86%) than those with no formal education/primary education (40%) in the second quarter of this year.
Conversely, those with no formal education/primary education were twice as likely to be unemployed (6%) than those with a third-level qualification (3%).
Despite this, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of school leavers across the EU. In 2018, 11% of all 18 to 24 year olds in the EU-28 member states were classified as early school-leavers.
The Irish equivalent rate was 5% in the same period - the fourth lowest rate in the EU. The rate of school-leavers in Ireland in 2004 was 14%.
Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the proportion of those aged between 25 and 64 years old with a third-level education from 37% 2009 to 47% currently. This has been accompanied by a steady decrease in the proportion with primary education/no formal education from 13% 2009 to 5% this year.
Irish nationals have a lower educational attainment profile than non-Irish nationals.
The CSO figures relating to the second quarter of this year show that more than four in 10 Irish people (45%) aged 25-64 years old have a third-level qualification.
By contrast, the other EU15 states (excluding Ireland and Britain) have a third-level attainment rate of 72% and other nationalities (non EU28 nationalities) are at 69%.