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Kiwis gaining more higher-level qualifications

author:New Zealand Government

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has today welcomed figures that show 56 per cent of New Zealanders aged 25-34 years old now hold a higher-level tertiary qualification.

A report released today - Profile & Trends 2015: Tertiary Education Outcomes and Qualification Completions, showed that last year there were 138,000 tertiary qualifications completed by New Zealanders and 22,500 qualifications by international students at tertiary providers across the country.

“The 2015 results continue a trend of students enrolling in and completing more higher level qualifications at level 4 and above, that provide valuable earning premiums in our 21st century economy,” Mr Joyce says.

Figures show that in 2015 across universities, polytechnics, Wānanga and private providers, domestic students completed 25,700 bachelors degrees, 13,000 postgraduate qualifications, 4,350 graduate certificates/diplomas, 15,600 diplomas and 79,800 level 1-4 certificates.

A feature of the statistics is a much higher number of bachelors degrees gained by Māori and Pasifika. The number of bachelors degrees completed each year has increased by close to 60 per cent on 2008 numbers for Māori students and over 70 per cent for Pasifika students.


"This progress is very encouraging and a tribute to the work of both providers and students,” Mr Joyce says.

"While we are not yet seeing the level of qualifications for Māori and Pasifika that match other ethnic groups, these figures show that the changes in performance expectations we made in 2010 are delivering big improvements."

“It’s great that our workforce continues to become more qualified and that New Zealanders are becoming better educated than ever before.”

“The report shows that the financial returns for completing high level tertiary qualifications remain strong. In 2015 the earnings of New Zealanders with abachelors degree or higher qualification were 65 per cent higher than for people with no qualification. People with a tertiary qualification are also less likely to be unemployed than those with no qualifications.

“The Government spends over $4 billion on tertiary education which is 1.7 per cent of gross domestic product. This report shows our careful management of the tertiary system is helping a higher proportion of young people to achieve qualifications at higher levels and gain the skills they need to be a success in the job market.”

The report also shows that course completion rates have increased in recent years to close to 80 per cent for lower-level qualifications and close to 90 per cent for bachelors and higher qualifications.

“Oversight of the sector by the Tertiary Education Commission and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority has also steadily increased over the years to ensure institutions are delivering these qualifications to a high standard.”

“The 2014-2019 Tertiary Education Strategy identified the need for the tertiary education system to become more flexible and responsive in order to address New Zealand’s evolving skills needs,” Mr Joyce says. "This report shows that providers are doing just that."

Profile & Trends 2015: Tertiary Education Outcomes and Qualification Completions is available: HERE


New Zealand Govt August 2016 2012