1383.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2009   
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Level of highest non-school qualification of people aged 25-64 years
Line graph: Level of highest non-school qualification of people aged 25-64 years, 1998 - 2008

For technical information see Endnote 1.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Education and Work.

Between 1998 and 2008, the proportion of 25-64 year olds with a non-school qualification (e.g. university or college education, see Endnote 1) rose from 47% to 61%, continuing a trend seen for many decades.

The increase in the proportion of people with non-school qualifications is mainly being driven by the substantial increase in the proportion of people with a higher education qualification (e.g. a Bachelor degree or above). Between 1998 and 2008, the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a Bachelor degree or higher level qualification increased from 17% to 26%. Over the same period, the proportion of people whose highest qualification was a vocational qualification (e.g. an Advanced diploma or diploma or below) increased from 31% to 34%.


Education and training help people to develop knowledge and skills that may be used to enhance their own living standards and those of the broader community. For an individual, educational attainment is widely seen as a key factor in obtaining a rewarding career. For the nation, having a skilled workforce is vital to support ongoing economic development and improvements in living conditions.


State and territory spreadsheets
Education and training - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2006
Themes - Education and Training
Research Paper: Measuring Human Capital Flows for Australia: A Lifetime Labour Income Approach, 2008


1. Data relate to the person's highest non-school qualification only. Some people have more than one qualification. Components do not sum to the total as the total with non-school qualifications includes those where the level could not be determined.

Qualifications are defined as formal certifications, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs. Statements of attainment awarded for partial completion of a course of study at a particular level are excluded.

Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include higher education qualifications (e.g. Postgraduate degree, Graduate diploma) and vocational education qualifications (e.g. Certificates I, II, III and IV). Collectively, this group of qualifications is referred to as 'non-school qualifications' instead of 'post-school qualifications' because students can study for vocational qualifications while attending secondary school.

The level of education classification contains several levels of non-school qualifications. For the purposes of this indicator these have been combined into two groups:
  • Bachelor degree or above - Postgraduate degree, Master degree, Graduate diploma, Graduate certificate, and Bachelor degree.
  • Advanced diploma or diploma or below - Advanced diploma, Associate Degree, Diploma, Advanced certificate, and Certificates I to IV.