6227.0 - Education and Work, Australia, May 2017 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/11/2017   
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    In May 2017, it was estimated that, of the 14.5 million people aged 20 to 64 years in Australia, 9.6 million (two in three Australians or 66%) have attained at least one non-school qualification. The proportion of males (67%) and females (66%) with a non-school qualification is almost identical. People in the age groups 30 to 34 and 35 to 39 years have attained the largest proportion of non-school qualifications. (Table 25 and Graph 1.1)

    Graph Image for Graph 1.1 - Attainment of non-school qualifications, by age group, 2017

    Source(s): Education and Work, Australia, 2017

    Of 20 to 64 year old persons, 62% have attained a Certificate III qualification or higher and 31% have attained a Bachelor degree qualification or higher. Similar proportions of males and females attained a Certificate III or higher (62% and 61%, respectively). A greater proportion of females (35%) than males (28%) have attained a Bachelor degree or higher. (Tables 26 & 27)

    Labour force status by level of highest non-school qualification

    In May 2017, two-thirds (68%) of employed people aged 15 to 74 years had completed a non-school qualification, compared with half (50%) of unemployed people, and 42% of people who were not in the labour force. (Table 13)

    Of all employed persons with a non-school qualification, the industry they were most commonly employed in was Health care and social assistance (16%), while employed persons without a non-school qualification were most commonly employed in the Retail trade industry sector (16%). (Table 14)

    In May 2017, of the estimated 15.9 million people aged 15 to 64 years in Australia, over 3 million, or nearly 1 in 5 (19%), were enrolled in formal study. The majority of 15 to 19 year olds (84%) were enrolled in formal study. This proportion declined sharply with age with 44% of those aged 20 to 24 years and 19% of those aged 25 to 29 years enrolled in formal study. Women were more likely to be enrolled in formal study than men with the gap between sexes narrowing in older age groups. (Table 22 and Graph 1.2)

    Graph Image for Graph 1.2 - Enrolled in formal study, by sex and age group, 2017

    Source(s): Education and Work, Australia, 2017


    The term engagement is used when assessing a persons level of participation in employment and education. The following table describes the different scenarios by which people can be Fully engaged, Partially engaged, or Not engaged.

    Table: Engagement in Employment and Education

    Employment Status
    Education Status

    Full-time study
    Part-time study
    Not studying

    Employed full-time
    Fully engaged
    Fully engaged
    Fully engaged
    Employed part-time
    Fully engaged
    Fully engaged
    Partially engaged
    Not employed
    Fully engaged
    Partially engaged
    Not engaged

    In May 2017, 89% of people aged 15 to 19 years, were fully engaged. Of persons aged 20 to 24 years, 75% were fully engaged. Beyond the age of 25, overall engagement rates declined steadily with significant divergence between male and female engagement rates. (Table 33 and Graph 1.3)

    Graph Image for Graph 1.3 - Fully engaged, by sex and age group, 2017

    Source(s): Education and Work, Australia, 2017


    In addition to collecting information from respondents about their current educational participation and attainment, the Survey of Education and Work also collects information from people who were formally studying (whether at school or for a qualification) at any point the previous year. This data is used to produce statistics on the transition people make from completing study in 2016 to further education or employment in May 2017.

    Transition to employment after completing a non-school qualification in 2016

    In May 2017, there were 1.1 million people aged 15 to 74 years who had completed a non-school qualification in which they were enrolled in 2016. Almost 79% (four in five) of these were employed, 14% were not in the labour force, while 7% were unemployed. (Table 19)

    Transition to further study and/or employment for 2016 School Leavers

    There were 311,600 people aged 15 to 20 years who were enrolled in secondary school in 2016 but not in May 2017. Of these school leavers, 82% had completed Year 12 or equivalent and 59% were currently enrolled in study at a non-school institution. The proportion of school leavers who were not studying was 40% and of these, the majority were employed, either full-time (25%) or part-time (36%), while 39% were not employed. (Table 18)


    In May 2017, there were 185,400 people aged 15 to 64 years who were employed as apprentices or trainees and were part of the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme. Of these, 81,100 people (44%) had commenced their apprenticeship or traineeship in the last 12 months. The majority of apprentices or trainees were male (83%). As in previous years, construction was the most common industry for apprentices and trainees, with 41% employed in this industry. (Table 20)