What do graduates earn after their tertiary study?
As a university graduate, how will your earning potential post-study compare with the national median?
A Ministry of Education/Statistics New Zealand report on post-study earnings* has shown that holders of a university degree have higher earnings in their first year post-study than the national median, as well as higher earnings than those of certificate or diploma holders for the same period.
In the three years of the study during which these findings were gathered, university degree holders continued to steadily earn more than certificate or diploma holders.
The report looked at approximately 30,000 young domestic students who last enrolled in a tertiary education institution in 2003, and examined the influence of tertiary education on their one-year and three-year post-study earnings.
Some of the key findings from the report are listed here.
- The median earnings of young bachelors degree completers in their first year post-study were about 19% higher than the national median, but after three years this difference had increased to more than 40%.
- First year post-study median earnings for students who completed a degree were 33% higher than for those who had completed a diploma, and 30% higher after three years.
- The median earnings of young one-year postgraduate-qualification completers in their first year post-study were 40% higher than the national median, and this increased to 60% after three years. The median earnings of these students were around 16% higher than for bachelor completers in their first year post-study, and 9% higher after three years.
- The median earnings of young doctorate completers were more than twice the national median after three years of work post-study. Median one-year post-study earnings for completers at this level were 16% higher than for those leaving with bachelors degrees. By the third year this difference had increased to 46%.
- Young leavers who completed certificates and diplomas earned between 75-90% of the national median in their first year post-study. Certificate students still earned less than the national median after three years. However, diploma leavers had reached the national median by their third year of earnings.
- The median earnings for qualification completers grew by around 30% after three years. Across most levels, growth for non-completers was only a few percentage points less. By comparison, the national median grew by 8% between tax years 2005-2007.
- The fastest growing fields in terms of median earnings were performing arts, earth sciences, electrical engineering and pharmacy. Other high earning fields included law, electrical engineering, accountancy, computer science and nursing.
*”What do students earn after their tertiary education?”, by David Scott, Ministry of Education on secondment to Statistics New Zealand, September 2009.
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