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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Education and training >> Educational attainment

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Formal educational qualifications are the desired outcome of most study at educational institutions. When issued by an accredited authority they denote a particular level of knowledge, skills and competencies. This assists the graduates themselves when entering the labour market, employers in selecting appropriate personnel, and clients in assessing the quality of professional services. The classification of educational attainment to level assists in measuring the stocks of available skills in a community, enabling policy makers to monitor the volume of skill levels compared with skills demand, and to influence the direction of future educational focus.

In May 2009, of the 14.4 million people aged 15-64 years, 8 million (55%) held at least one non-school qualification. These comprised 3.3 million whose highest non-school qualification was a Bachelor degree or above. A further 1.3 million reported an Advanced diploma or Diploma, 2.3 million reported a Certificate III or IV and 0.7 million reported a Certificate I or II as their highest qualification. Over half the population of 15-64 year olds (54%) had completed Year 12, and around two-thirds (68%) of those with Year 12 held a non-school qualification. Among those without a non-school qualification, 38% had completed Year 12, 14% had completed Year 11 and a further 30% had completed Year 10 as their highest year of schooling (table 12.32).

12.32 LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION,
By highest year of school completed
(a) - May 2009

Highest year of school completed

Year 12
Year 11
Year 10
Year 9 or below
Total(b)
Level of education
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

Postgraduate degree
562.9
7.4
na
na
582.2
Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate
317.4
12.7
na
na
354.0
Bachelor degree
2 185.8
51.7
77.3
8.4
2 323.2
Advanced diploma/Diploma
905.5
131.1
171.9
28.3
1 236.8
Certificate III/IV
876.0
363.9
858.4
187.5
2 286.5
Certificate I/II
247.5
107.8
225.1
60.4
640.9
Certificate not further defined
99.4
29.9
58.8
15.9
204.0
Level not determined
80.8
15.6
47.8
13.9
158.2
Total with non-school qualification
5 275.4
720.2
1 470.7
318.9
7 785.9
Total without non-school qualification
2 478.1
896.7
1 901.7
1 080.3
6 377.3
Total
7 753.6
1 616.9
3 372.4
1 399.2
14 163.1

na not available
(a) Persons aged 15-64 years.
(b) Includes persons who never attended school.
Source: ABS data available on request, 2009 Survey of Education and Work.


Graph 12.33 shows the proportion of males and females aged 15-64 years and the level of their highest non-school qualification in 1999, 2004, and 2009. During this period the proportion of people aged 15-64 years with a Bachelor degree or above increased by 5.1 percentage points for males and by 8.3 percentage points for females. In 1999, some 16% of both males and females held a Bachelor degree or above. By 2004, these proportions had increased to 18% and 20% respectively. The proportions of males and females with a Bachelor degree or above continued to increase, reaching 21% for males and 25% for females at May 2009. Conversely, the proportion of males and females without non-school qualifications fell over this period, by 5.8 and 11.8 percentage points, respectively.

12.33 Level of highest non-school qualification(a)
Graph: 12.33 Level of highest non-school qualification(a)


Overall, people 25 years and over are more qualified than those under 25 years, as many young adults are still involved in study and are yet to obtain a non-school qualification. Around half (51%) of 15-19 year olds were still attending school in 2009 and 40% of 20-24 year olds were attending a tertiary education institution. Tables 12.34 and 12.35 show the level and field of the highest non-school qualification held by people aged 15-64 years in May 2009. Some 62% of all 25-64 year olds held a non-school qualification. This compares with 26% of 15-24 year olds and the most qualified age group of 25-34 years, of which 69% held a non-school qualification.

In 2009, 35% of people aged 25-34 years had a Bachelor degree or above, compared with 20% in the 55-64 years age group. There was little difference however for Certificates III or IV held by these age groups (17% for 25-34 year olds compared with 16% for 55-64 year olds).

12.34 LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, By age - May 2009

Age group (years)

15 - 24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
Total(a)
Level of education
’000
'000
’000
’000
’000
’000

Postgraduate degree
16.2
172.8
155.8
136.5
101.0
582.2
Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate
12.4
68.8
103.8
98.6
70.3
354.0
Bachelor degree
227.6
785.2
569.8
454.2
286.3
2 323.2
Advanced diploma/Diploma
105.8
302.0
330.7
283.7
214.6
1 236.8
Certificate III/IV
269.4
512.1
579.6
548.4
376.8
2 286.5
Certificate I/II
94.5
95.3
154.7
165.5
130.9
640.9
Certificate not further defined
46.0
73.0
31.5
32.2
21.3
204.0
Level not determined
11.7
26.0
36.2
51.4
32.7
158.2
Total with non-school qualifications
783.8
2 035.4
1 962.2
1 770.6
1 234.0
7 785.9
Total without non-school qualifications
2 174.1
932.6
1 090.8
1 126.2
1 053.6
6 377.3
Total
2 957.9
2 968.0
3 052.9
2 896.8
2 287.6
14 163.1

(a) Persons aged 15-64 years.
Source: ABS Education and Work, Australia, May 2009 (6227.0).


The most common main fields of education for the highest non-school qualification held by people aged 15-64 years were Management and commerce (24% of those with qualifications), and Engineering and related technologies (18%). Mature aged persons (45-64 years) most frequently had qualifications in the fields of Engineering and related technologies (21%), Management and commerce (21%) and Society and culture (14%).


12.35 MAIN FIELD OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, By age - May 2009

Age group (years)

15-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
Total(a)
Field of education
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000

Natural and physical sciences
25.8
74.9
60.2
55.9
50.5
267.2
Information technology
37.4
121.2
71.9
44.9
16.6
292.1
Engineering and related technologies
101.5
287.0
360.6
349.6
289.3
1 388.1
Architecture and building
42.4
114.9
125.4
127.0
80.0
489.7
Agriculture, environment and related studies
27.4
53.1
60.4
43.9
24.4
209.2
Health
44.6
193.5
189.8
200.7
141.1
769.7
Education
20.4
97.9
135.3
154.1
124.3
532.1
Management and commerce
208.0
539.5
469.7
375.9
242.1
1 835.2
Society and culture
117.5
279.0
248.4
250.7
168.5
1 064.1
Creative arts
49.4
127.4
80.3
56.6
31.5
345.3
Food, hospitality and personal services
96.1
124.0
126.8
79.1
44.9
471.0
Other(b)
13.2
23.0
33.2
32.0
20.8
122.2
Total
783.8
2 035.4
1 962.2
1 770.6
1 234.0
7 785.9
Persons without a non-school qualification
2 174.1
932.6
1 090.8
1 126.2
1 053.6
6 377.3

(a) Persons aged 15-64 years.
(b) Includes Field not determined and Mixed field programmes.
Source: ABS Education and Work, Australia, May 2009 (6227.0).




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