A Ministry of Education report, Moving on up – What young people earn after their tertiary education, compares what graduates earn after studying different subjects and at different levels in New Zealand.
Unsurprisingly the report shows earnings increase with the level of qualification completed. Five years after finishing study, the median earnings of young people who complete a bachelors degree is 53 percent above the national median earnings and 46 percent above the median for young people who gain a certificate at levels 1-3.
It also shows employment rates increase with level of qualification gained but earnings vary considerably by field of study. Young graduates with bachelors degrees in medicine, dental studies and pharmacy earn the most after studying.
The Dominion Post noted that the report coincides with the launch of a tool on the careers.govt.nz website today that uses up-to-date tertiary qualifications data and information from Inland Revenue to give potential students a frank outlook of different careers.
Tertiary education, skills and employment minister Steven Joyce told the Dominion Post the new report and website offered important, real information about New Zealand’s industries.
“The data highlights the large variation in earning potential for different types of graduates, with those studying in in-demand areas earning the most.”
“What I think it will do is you will see a move away from fine arts and performing arts into a stronger demand for more career-oriented areas.”
Steven Joyce said it would be good for the economy, and said the higher level of study students completed the better it was for their prospects and earnings. (This despite the government this year cutting allowances for student who do undertake post-graduate study.)
However TEU national president Lesley Francey said the minister is misusing data to shape the workforce.
“Just because medical students are paid more than nurses does not mean there are high-paying jobs for everyone who studies to be a doctor. Students should choose education that meets their needs and aspirations, not courses that a website has promised will lead to a bigger pay packet.”
The government needs to create larger numbers of better paid jobs rather than discourage people away from learning qualifications that are valuable to society but are under-rewarded,” said Ms Francey.