The latest issue of ABS Education and Work suggests that maybe we have headed slightly backwards on our way to the government’s target of 40% of 25-34 year olds having degrees. From 34.6% last year the ABS finds 34.2% this year. But the differences aren’t statistically significant.
On the other hand, there is one factor that might slow growth a little. In 2003, the government announced that it was going to penalise universities that ‘over-enrolled’ too much. This flowed through to slightly lower commencements in subsequent years, and a small drop in completions 2006-2008. Combine that with a slight increase in the size of the relevant age cohorts and it’s likely that we have some slightly less educated birth years now reaching the 25-34 age group (assuming they did not take advantage of renewed growth in places later).
Against this migration would be pushing the numbers up – due to migration criteria permanent migrants aged 25-34 are more educated than Australian-born people of the same age.
Education and Work also shows essentially no change in graduate over-qualification from 2009 – 27.4% last year, 27% this year. Graduate unemployment fell from 3.4% to 2.5%.