Tertiary graduates have half the unemployment rate

The New Zealand tertiary education system delivered more graduates and qualifications than ever before in 2012, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

Profile & Trends 2012, released today by the Ministry of Education, shows that 162,000 qualifications were completed in the New Zealand tertiary education system last year.

The number of qualifications completed by domestic students increased by 3.2 per cent from 2011 to 2012, with degree and higher qualifications up by 4 per cent.

A total of 43,700 domestic students completed bachelors degrees or higher qualifications in 2012, with bachelors degrees accounting for more than half of that total.

The number of domestic students who completed a bachelors degree in 2012 is the highest ever at 25,400, up 4,790 since 2010 – an increase of 23 per cent.

“Right through the 2000s the number of degree graduates flat-lined, despite big increases in tertiary funding by the previous government.  This Government’s focus on performance and not just bums on seats, has led to much better results for students and taxpayers,” Mr Joyce says.

The report also shows a continued shift into higher qualifications with an 11 per cent increase in the number of total enrolments in bachelors degrees and higher qualifications since 2008. This includes a 1.2 per cent increase from 2011 to 2012.

“New Zealanders with a tertiary qualification at level four or higher earn considerably more and have a much lower risk of unemployment than those who don’t,” Mr Joyce says

“The Government has set a target of 55 per cent of 25 – 34 year olds holding a qualification at level 4 or above by 2017 to continue to strengthen and up-skill our labour market and to ensure higher paying jobs that benefit New Zealanders and their families.

“These results show the initiatives we have introduced, such as the changes to industry training, student support, and the focus on performance, are paying off, with more young people taking the opportunity to enrol in tertiary education and gain higher qualifications.”

Other findings in the report include:

·         The participation rate of Māori aged 18-24 years in bachelors and higher qualifications increased from 11 per cent in 2011 to 12 per cent in 2012

·         The participation rate of Pasifika aged 18-24 years in bachelors and higher qualifications increased from 14 per cent in 2011 to 15 per cent in 2012

·         The proportion of people aged 15 years and over with a bachelors degree or higher qualification increased from 11 per cent in 2002 to 18 per cent in 2012.

·         The proportion of industry trainees gaining between 40 and 59 credits increased to 13 per cent in 2012, up from 8.3 per cent in 2008.

·         Despite the GFC, the unemployment rate for people with a tertiary qualification in 2012 was 4.9 per cent. The rate for those without any qualification was 10 per cent.

The report is available at: http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2531/profile-and-trends-2012