Overview of the labour market success of graduates from vocational and higher education

Posted on 11 October 2013, 11:00

Today, on 11 October, Statistics Estonia presents “Success on the Labour Market” – an overview of the average gross monthly income of persons with vocational and higher education and their social status on the labour market.

Statistics Estonia used the data of the Estonian Education Information System, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, the Population Register and the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund to assess the success of graduates from vocational and higher education. The main indicators used are the gross monthly income from employment according to the Tax and Customs Board and the social status (working, living abroad, studying, on parental leave). This is a unique dataset that allows a comparison of different schools and fields of study.

Analyst Kaia Kabanen compared the average gross monthly income of graduates from different levels of vocational and higher education by field of study and school. The results show that graduates in fields of study related to computers, transport, engineering, national and public defence are the most successful on all levels of education. “An education in these specialties pays off, since the higher the level of education, the bigger the income. For example, the average income of persons with a Master’s degree in computer sciences is over 500 euros bigger than the average income of those with a professional higher education diploma in computer sciences,” explained Kabanen. “Among vocational schools, the graduates of the Estonian Maritime Academy, Tallinn Polytechnic School, Kehtna Economics and Technology School, Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and Estonian National Defence College were more successful on the labour market, meaning that they had a bigger income,” said Kabanen. “Among institutions of higher education, the graduates of the Estonian Business School, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Tartu are the most successful without a doubt,“ added Kabanen.

Leading Statistician Koit Meres studied the social status of graduates with different levels of education as another indicator of labour market success, and reached several important conclusions.

“The results show that vocational education is not a dead end, as is often thought,” said Meres.

“About 11% of those who graduated from vocational schools in the period 2006–2011 had acquired a higher level of education by 2012; the corresponding share in higher education was 10%,” explained Meres. The data also show that more and more men are pursuing education. “We hope that the gender gap in education will decrease,” said Meres. As another relevant aspect, Meres mentioned people who go abroad. “In case of vocational education, the people going abroad have mainly acquired occupations that are not very well-paid. In higher education, income does not have such an impact on the decision to go abroad, other factors are more decisive.” Unemployment depends both on the level of education and on the field of study, said Meres. “For example, persons with a vocational education in health have a lower unemployment rate than persons with a Master’s degree in agriculture,” he added.

"Success on the Labour Market" will be presented to the press today, on 11 October, at 11:00–12:00, at Statistics Estonia (Tatari 51, 5th floor).

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