The international Organization for Economic Coordination and Development released a study showing a widening gap between young people with a good education and those who left school early.
"Leaving school with good qualifications is more essential than ever," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said.
The study covering 34 countries, including 21 EU states, found unemployment rates were nearly three times higher for low-skilled people than their highly educated counterparts between 2008 and 2011.
Salaries were also affected.
OECD found the average earnings difference between the highly educated and the lower educated rose 75 percentage points in 2008 to 90 percentage points in 2011.
Unfortunately, the economic crisis halted a long-term trend of rising investment in education, the report said.
Public spending on educational institutions from 2009 to 2010 as a percentage of gross domestic product fell by 1 percent on average.