Ministry analysis: Income level affected more by field of study than level of education

Students working at the Pärnu County Vocational Education Centre. (Pärnu Postimees/Scanpix)
5/23/2016 11:14 AM
Category: News

According to analysis done by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, each successive level of education increases level of income, work experience provides a further increase in pay, and pay in general is affected more by an individual’s field of study than their level of education.

Ministry analysis indicated that each successive level of education leads to an increase in income: those with vocational education receive approximately 25 percent more pay than those with just basic education; differences in pay were also notable when comparing income levels of those with higher education and those with vocational education, as well as those with doctorate degrees and those with only bachelor’s degrees.

Analysis also indicated that while immediately following graduation vocational and professional higher education are more profitable than secondary education (i.e. a high school diploma) and a bachelor’s degree, respectively, as work experience increases, the income gap tends to level out and may even reverse.

Likewise revealed was the fact that an individual’s income was affected more by their field of study than their level of education overall. According to ministry analysis, the monthly income of graduates of higher education categorized by major ranges from 800 to 1,700 euros, which means that graduates of the least profitable major (the arts) earn 53 percent less than graduates of the most profitable major (computer science). Vocational school graduates’ monthly income by field varied from 620 to 1,130 euros per month, and analysis indicated that computer science and other technical fields were the most profitable across all levels of income.

According to ministry data, 8.5 percent of those with professional education (12,600 people) are inactive on the job market, meaning that they are not currently in school, employed, registered as unemployed, receiving childcare benefits or serving in the Estonian Defence Forces.

Population Register data from 2014 indicated that an additional 3.7 percent (5,400 people) of vocational or secondary education graduates from 2005-2013 (totaling 147,000 people) lived abroad.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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