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October 7, 2013 | by  | in News |
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More Graduates Than Ever

You’d be forgiven for thinking degrees do grow on trees, with a recent report showing more people are graduating than ever before.

The Ministry of Education’s 2012 Profile & Trends report, made available on 1 October, shows that 162,000 tertiary qualifications were attained in New Zealand last year. Overall, the number of people qualifying with degrees or bachelors was up by four per cent from 2011 to 2012.

The report also shows that of these qualifications, 43,700 were secured by domestic students. 25,400 of these individuals completed a bachelor’s programme in 2012—an increase of 23 per cent since 2010.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce suggested that last year’s “unprecedented” increase in graduations was due to the Government’s emphasis on performance.

“Right through the 2000s, the number of degree graduates flatlined, despite big increases in tertiary funding,” said Joyce.

“This Government’s focus on performance and not just bums on seats has led to much better results for students and taxpayers.”

The Minister also suggested that those with tertiary qualifications would benefit financially, stating that those with higher education earn “considerably more” and would be less susceptible to unemployment. Despite the Government’s hopes to upskill the labour market and ensure more lucrative jobs are secured, the labour market’s state has been criticised as not offering enough to graduates and the unemployed.

“Unemployment is still stuck where it was during the Global Financial Crisis … [it’s] no laughing matter,” said Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“On top of that, those Kiwis lucky enough to have jobs are faced with the lowest-average annual wage growth in 13 years.”

An ongoing survey by Statistics New Zealand has shown that the number of full-time equivalent employees in New Zealand had dropped 0.4 per cent from the end of 2012 to the end of March. Unemployment remains at 6.4 per cent for 2013.

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