Education and Earnings

May 28th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Some interesting data from a Ministry of report.

Here’s the median earnings for different levels of education, five years after study concludes:

  • Level 4 Certificate $35,713
  • Diploma $39,307
  • Bachelors $51,627
  • Honours $60,612
  • Masters $59,584
  • Doctorate $71,317

Also of interest are the median earnings five years after study for different bachelors degrees:

  • Medical Studies $110,324
  • Pharmacy $72,963
  • Dental Studies $67,600
  • Civil Engineering $66,787
  • Computer Science $62,059
  • Accountancy $58,361
  • Economics $58,357
  • Maths $57,469
  • Law $57,213
  • Nursing $57,022
  • Teaching $52,403
  • Political Science $50,876
  • Agriculture $48,554
  • Architecture $46,014
  • Comms and Media Studies $44,927
  • Performing Arts $37,229
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29 Responses to “Education and Earnings”

  1. kowtow (8,733 comments) says:

    hahaha

    Top paid jobs 5 years out are the ones taxpayers fund.

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  2. uncle_tom (14 comments) says:

    I agree kowtow. Most of the degrees are also vocational/technician type degrees. Why are there there not more research, development and innovation based degrees such as science and engineering?

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  3. mikenmild (11,662 comments) says:

    uncle_tom
    The data above only looks at bachelors’ degrees by type, so doesn’t include research-based qualifications.

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  4. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Top paid jobs 5 years out are the ones taxpayers fund.

    Er, what? According to that list, the top-paid are people with degrees in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, civil engineering, IT and accountancy. Most of them will be in the private sector.

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  5. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    So which particular years does this study cover?

    If for example it took from 2008-2013 for a person with a Bachelor Degree in Law, to have their income go from $51,627 to just $57,213, (less than 2% rise per year), then that is not exactly a good reflection on a government. One would expect within five years for graduates to be able to advance to higher pay scales in their careers or at least get the same wage increase as given to the rest (excluding MP’s who of course, for some reason seem to be deserving of much higher increases).

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  6. tom hunter (5,078 comments) says:

    It might pay to also look at the costs of each degree and the debt that is incurred.

    Certainly in my case I had to give up on dreams of a Phd on Physics, after which I had to look at what STEM qualification had the best cost/benefit ratio. For me that was Computer Science, followed by further qualifications in IT management, and I’ve had no reason to question that decision even years later.

    Whether such still holds is another question.

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  7. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    DPF – just to provide some balance do you have the figures of what the average student loan would be for each particular category?

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  8. kowtow (8,733 comments) says:

    PM: depends where you draw the line doesn’t it.But you know that.

    medicine,pharmacy and dentistry.All health related all dependant on the taxpayer.

    And i’d guess civil engineers get a massive whack out of central and local gummint too.

    Yep uncle tom; nursing,teaching,agriculture and performing bloody arts ,now require a degree?

    Education itself has become an “industry” and a massive drain on the taxpayer.

    All part of tax and spend.And the never ending debt cycle,underpinned by the fewer and fewer productive taxpayers left in the economy.

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  9. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ tom hunter (4,152 comments) says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 11:42 am

    It is never too late to achieve that PhD Tom. Some have had to wait until in our 50’s to get there. But it is worth it in the end, even if it takes longer to do it part-time.

    It gives the ability to work, even in retirement by disseminating knowledge and therefore provides a good income even when the body is no longer willing to be too active.

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  10. GraemeB (10 comments) says:

    It would be interesting to compare these figures with self employed tradespeople such as builders, plumbers and electricians. I am sure many of them will be earning more than Doctorate $71,317. As an alternative career path for those not as academically endowed there are still good money earning options without the huge student loan debt and as a trades person a high level of independence or self employment opportunity.

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  11. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ kowtow (6,988 comments) says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Many degrees, especially Bachelor degrees are designed purposefully to provide both practical and theoretical knowledge.
    Whilst I do agree that we have far to many wish-washy degrees (Bachelor of Origami), which has devalued academia, I do think that certification of some sort, provides an emphasis on achievement and completion.

    In my opinion the blurring of lines between the technical institute and the University is to blame. People have jumped on board the gravy train that education provision has provided, and the whole situation has become ‘silly’. The University is no long dominated by the Professor, but rather the administrator. The technical institute no longer concentrates on the practicalities, but blurs those with the production of ‘knowledge’ – and in doing so makes a mockery of both forms of certification/qualification.

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  12. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    Awesome.
    My company has a reputation for underpaying, but I’m 3 years out and almost on parity with the next qualification up.

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  13. prosper (172 comments) says:

    Unfortunately a fair amount of University education teaches you what you cannot do rather than what you can. Many very successful people are University drop outs.

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  14. Grendel (1,003 comments) says:

    GraemeB, most of my trady clients are earning much more than their academic counterparts.

    glad i did not waste too many years doing pointless study, look at how sad some of those incomes are (and i would not take a doctors workload on for that little money).

    great thing about sales/self employment is that you can effectively set your income by just working harder/better. its very meritocratic (is that a word?).

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  15. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Grendel (899 comments) says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Whilst you are correct at least for the first half of life, as age increases it is not always possible to continue earning, however, the older academic can reproduce knowledge sitting on their bum and be paid handsomely for their little effort, thanks to the letters after their name.

    There are benefits to both – and like most things it depends on the individual’s effort as to how they make the most of what they have.

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  16. Huevon (223 comments) says:

    Interesting to see median for Law at 5 PQE at $57k. In a big/corporate/specialist firm, you’d expect 90-100k at that level, but those are only a relatively small number of lawyers. There are plenty others out there shilling wills and conveyancing, or battling through the anti-family court earning much less.

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  17. prosper (172 comments) says:

    It’s entirely debatable that the older academic is producing knowledge. It’s more likely non productive rubbish produced at the tax payers expense as they arrogantly try and control those they perceive as minions with lesser degrees/education.

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    PM: depends where you draw the line doesn’t it.

    Indeed it does. And if you’re going to draw it at the point where even a pharmacist or civil engineer running their own business is ‘dependent on the taxpayer,’ you might as well just declare every job everywhere dependent on the taxpayer because they all are (unless you’re involved in a business that doesn’t require roads, electricity, sewerage disposal, water supply, money, a legal system etc).

    Yep uncle tom; nursing,teaching,agriculture and performing bloody arts ,now require a degree?

    Any profession involving a significant level of abstraction is improved by educating the participants. You don’t need education to work in agriculture, but agriculture’s had the shit improved out of it by people who’ve been educated to the point where they can think about it in the abstract, particularly in terms of chemistry and engineering. You’re using a computer connected to the internet, for fuck’s sake – if anything should demonstrate to you the stupidity of anti-intellectualism, it’s that.

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  19. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    GraemeB, most of my trady clients are earning much more than their academic counterparts.

    There’s no reason they shouldn’t.

    glad i did not waste too many years doing pointless study, look at how sad some of those incomes are…

    And this is of course why some people go into trades and some people get degrees. That’s how it should be – if everyone went to university the quality of the output would go down and no practical work would get done, and if nobody went to university we’d be living in a medieval shithole and all going to church on Sundays like the good superstitious types we’d be.

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  20. prosper (172 comments) says:

    The computer driven by university drop outs such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

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  21. flash2846 (289 comments) says:

    The benefit formally known as the DPB pays/gifts more than most of the above. No qualification required; just the ability to F***.
    No surprise bludgers breed more bludgers with such an incentive.

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  22. Colville (2,298 comments) says:

    You do get some very very bright lads doing trades quals just because they hated school or in the case of one bloke I know he knocked out a teacher ….. which is frowned upon :-)
    Only one punch .. if they had let him back to school he would have been a cult hero…. he runs a company of about 30 tradies now…

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  23. holysheet (423 comments) says:

    Holy crap, I must be overpaying my sales staff. No tertiary qualifications required
    Staring salary of 55k. vehicle, laptop phone etc all supplied. bonus payments if targets are met.

    Any body looking for a job in sales?

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  24. kowtow (8,733 comments) says:

    PM

    I’m not anti intellectual.

    I’m anti taxpayers funding evrything to the point the west is broke.

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  25. Tauhei Notts (1,746 comments) says:

    I was chatting with a cow cocky who will pay $70,000 plus free house, firewood, milk, wet weather gear and a steer a year; all for a farm worker with five years experience and absolutely NO student loan. Interestingly, the worker did not even ask what the pay rate was as the farmer had a great reputation in his district. The farm is a 70 minutes drive from Queen Street, Auckland, so it is not really remote.
    I am beginning to think that tertiary study is one of the biggest cons to have been sold to our young people recently.

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  26. nasska (11,788 comments) says:

    Tauhei

    Agree entirely…..forty years ago accepting a job on a farm was the equivalent of taking a vow of poverty but not now. Reliable dairy workers with a bit of get up & go would earn as much as most tradies.

    Even sheep & beef farmers are having to pay good money to attract the right people. Son in law of a mate has started as a manager of a farm in the central NI & his pay & conditions are about the same as you instanced.

    It’s a good life if polishing the arse out of your pants in front of a computer screen is not your thing.

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  27. Gulag1917 (982 comments) says:

    Amazing how the dropouts become the multi millionaires.

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  28. mister nui (1,030 comments) says:

    And if we had a meaningful oil and gas industry, those in that industry wouldn’t even lift their heads off the pillow for 200k.

    It would also boost the earnings of those in engineering.

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  29. btb (7 comments) says:

    The cost of the degrees are quite variable, dental is very expensive 100k plus, also hard to off set living costs in some of the more demanding degrees by part time work as the degrees require 60hr weeks just for study and lectures. No significant income for 5 to 6 years is a valid point to consider also. I think degrees like accounting are quite profitable as many can go to the UK and earn well on their OEs, much more than a junior doctor or dentist, the degree is cheaper also.

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