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Tertiary providers required to publish graduate employment outcomes

14 Sep 2015

All universities, wānanga and polytechnics will be required to publish information about the employment status and earnings of their graduates as of 2017.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced the requirement, which is set to be broken down by specific degrees and diplomas.

“This Government is committed to providing better information to assist students’ decisions,” he says. “This is important so students can make the most of their time in tertiary education, and because of the significant investment students and taxpayers make.”

Joyce says, “We know that students and their families consider many things when deciding what to study, and where. But we know that students expect their tertiary study will get them a job and improve their career prospects.”

Joyce says as New Zealand continues to rapidly develop a more highly-skilled economy, it is more important than ever for students to consider carefully their tertiary study options and future career options.

Students have been able to compare earnings by qualification and field of study at national-level since 2013. From 2017, they will be able to compare earnings by provider as well, he explains.

“The national-level data shows study at higher levels improves your career prospects, and that there is an earnings premium for in-demand areas such as in engineering and ICT,” Joyce says.

“The provider-level data on graduates’ employment status and earnings will build on this to let students see if employers prefer graduates from particular providers,” he explains. “Students will also be able to see what and where to study to improve their employment prospects.

“We want to ensure the skills people develop in tertiary education are well matched to labour market needs.”

Joyce says tertiary education providers are increasingly working with industry to ensure this happens. “Information on graduates’ employment status and earnings will help providers identify when they might not be meeting employers’ needs as well as they could,” he says.

Joyce says this latest announcement builds on the steps the National Government has already taken to provide students with more and better information to help with their study decisions.

“Students can compare earnings by qualification and field of study on Careers New Zealand’s website,” says Joyce. “They can download the Occupational Outlook app, which gives an easy-to-use overview of job demand, likely income levels, and training requirements for 50 different career options.

“We are also introducing Rate My Qualification next year, which will let employers provide direct feedback to tertiary providers, and students about the qualifications employers value.”

The employment status and earnings data is from Statistics New Zealand, and is gathered by matching information on a confidential basis from Inland Revenue with tertiary qualifications data. Providers will work with education agencies during 2016 on the details of how the information will be published.

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