4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Sep 2018  
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EDUCATION

The Education section contains the following sub-topics:
    • Attainment (formal and non-school qualifications, literacy and numeracy skills)
    • Participation (participation and retention rates, participation in a non-school qualification, work-related learning)
    • Education and Employment (whether fully engaged, starting salaries)

Detailed data relating to these sub-topics are available from the Downloads tab of this publication (see Data Cubes 4. Education - Attainment, 5. Education - Participation & Education and Employment and 6. Education - Expanded population tables).


INSIGHTS

Attainment

Year 12/Certificate II or above

In 2017, over three quarters of working aged women and men (those aged 15–64 years) had attained Year 12 or a formal qualification at Certificate II or above. This was even higher for younger women and men, with 90% of young women and 84% of young men aged 20–24 years having qualifications at this level (see Table 4.1). Although rates of attainment at this level for young women and men have been increasing over the last decade, there has been no significant change for women in the last few years.

Rates of attainment at the Year 12/Certificate II level or above for younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are also increasing. In 2014–15, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 20–24 years were more likely to have completed Year 12 or a formal qualification of Certificate II or above (64%) than they were in 2008 (47%). Similarly, just under 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men aged 20–24 years had completed qualifications at this level, compared with 44% in 2008 (see Table 4.2).

Over the last 10 years the proportion of women and men aged 15–64 years who have attained Year 12 or Certificate II or above has increased, women from 67% in 2007 to 78% in 2017 and men from 71% in 2007 to 77% in 2017.

Certificate III or above

More than two-thirds of people aged 25–29 years had attained a formal qualification at Certificate III level or above in 2017 (72% of women and 67% of men). Patterns of attainment by sex at this level have changed over time. While fewer women than men aged 18–64 years have attained formal qualifications at this level, the pattern is reversing for younger women and men (see Figure 1 below, and Table 4.3).

Graph Image for Figure 1 - All persons 18 years and over, Certificate III or above, by age and sex, 2007 to 2017 (a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) Includes any of the following: Certificate III or IV; Advanced Diploma or Diploma; Bachelor Degree; Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate, or Post Graduate Degree. (b) Prior to 2013, data excludes people permanently unable to work. (c) Males and females who have attained Year 12 or a formal qualification at Certificate III or above as a proportion of all persons for each sex and age group.

Source(s): Data available on request, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Education and Work, Australia, cat. no. 6227.0



In 2014–15, 37% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men aged 18–64 years had attained a Certificate III or above. There has been a trend of strong growth in attainment at this level for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since 2002; with attainment sitting at 15% for women and 19% for men in 2002, increasing to around 25% in 2008 and 37% in 2014 (see Table 4.4).

Over the last 10 years the proportion of females and males aged 18–64 years who have attained a Certificate III or above have increased from 44% for females and 52% for males in 2007 to 59% for females and 60% for males in 2017.

Bachelor degree or above

Over the last decade, women aged 18–64 years have been consistently more likely than men in this age group to have attained a Bachelor Degree or above. Over this time, women aged 25–29 years have been more likely than men the same age to have attained a Bachelor Degree or above. In 2017, 45% of women and 32% of men aged 25–29 years had attained a Bachelor Degree or above (see Table 4.5).

Graph Image for Figure 2 - Attainment of a Bachelor Degree or above, by age and sex, 2007 to 2017 (a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Prior to 2013, excludes people permanently unable to work. (b) Males and females who have attained a Bachelor Degree or above as a proportion of all persons for each sex and age group.

Source(s): Data available on request, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Education and Work, Australia, cat. no. 6227.0



Over the last 10 years, the proportion of women and men aged 18–64 years who have attained a Bachelor Degree or above have increased from 23% in 2007 to 33% in 2017 for women and from 21% to 26% for men. During this period, the largest increases in attainment for both women and men were for 30–34 year olds (13 and 9 percentage points, respectively) and for 35–44 year olds (17 and 10 percentage points, respectively).

Just over 6% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and just over 5% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men aged 18–64 years had a Bachelor Degree or higher qualification in 2014–15 (see Table 4.6).

Non-school qualifications

In 2017, 4.9 million women and 4.8 million men aged 15–64 years (61% of both women and men) had attained a non-school qualification (see Table 4.7).

Between 2007 and 2017, the proportion of women and men aged 15–64 years old who attained a non-school qualification increased by 10 percentage points and 7 percentage points, respectively.

In 2014–15, proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men aged 15–64 years with a non-school qualification were 49% and 47% respectively. This proportion has increased notably since 2002, from 27% of both women and men in this age group (see Table 4.8).

Field of study

In 2017, women were more likely than men to have completed qualifications in the fields of Health, Society and Culture, Education and Management and Commerce, while men were more likely to have completed qualifications in Engineering and related technologies, Architecture and building, and Information Technology.

Women were most likely to have qualifications in Management and Commerce (27%), and least likely to have qualifications in Architecture and building. In fact, Architecture and building accounted for approximately 1% of female graduates each year between 2007 and 2017, and men were ten times more likely to have qualifications in this field. Women were three times more likely than men to have qualifications in Health, and nearly four times more likely to have qualifications in Education. Men were most likely to have qualifications in Engineering and related technologies (29%) than in any other field (see Table 4.10).

Interestingly, while women were far less likely to study Architecture and building or Engineering and related technologies than men, they tended to study at higher levels than men when they did study in this field. In 2017, 42% of women with a qualification in Architecture and building had a Bachelor degree as their qualification and 17% had a Postgraduate Degree, compared with 8% and 1% of men, respectively; and 39% of women with a qualification in Engineering and related technologies had a Bachelor Degree and 11% had a Postgraduate Degree as their qualification, compared with 17% and 4% of men, respectively. Around three quarters (77%) of men with a qualification in Architecture and building, and around 61% with a qualification in Engineering and related technologies, had a Certificate III/IV as their qualification (see Table 4.11).


Participation

Participation rates

In 2017, 86% of females and 82% of males aged 15–19 years were currently studying for a qualification, as were 47% of females and 42% of males aged 20–24 years. In all years between 2007 and 2017, education participation rates were higher for women than men aged 15–64 years (an average of 20% and 18% respectively over that time). (See Table 5.1)

Graph Image for Figure 3 - Education participation rate, by sex, 15-24 years, 2007 to 2017 (a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) from 2013 education data is restricted to formal study (study for a qualification, including Year 10 and Year 12 certificates) (b) Prior to 2013, excludes people permanently unable to work. (c) Males and females who have attained a Bachelor Degree or above as a proportion of all persons for each sex and age group.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS Survey of Education and Work, 2006-2016



In 2014–15, the education participation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females aged 15–24 years increased from 42% in 2012–13 to 50% in 2014–15, while it stayed steady for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, at around 40% (see Table 5.2).

School Students

The long term pattern of increasing retention rates for full-time school students continues and differences by gender are narrowing. The apparent retention rate for full-time school students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 rose from 80% of females and 69% of males in 2007 to 89% and 81% respectively in 2017 (see Table 5.3).

Apparent retention rates for full-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students in Year 7/8 to Year 12 have also increased, however the differences by gender have also increased, rising from 46% of females and 39% of males in 2007 to 67% of females and 58% of males in 2017 (see Table 5.4).

Enrolment in Certificate III or above

In 2017 when interviewed, young women aged 18–24 years were more likely to be enrolled in a Bachelor Degree or above than young men (see Table 5.5), and young men this age were more likely to be enrolled in an Advanced Diploma, Diploma, or Certificate III/IV than young women, driven by the higher enrolments in Certificate III/IV of young men (see Table 5.6). In the broader age group of 18–64 years, however, women were more likely than men to be enrolled in a Diploma, Advanced Diploma, or Bachelor Degree than men (see Figure 4 below, and Table 5.6).

Over the last 10 years, the proportion of females and males aged 18–24 years enrolled in a Bachelor Degree or above has increased from 28% for females and 23% for males in 2007 to 38% and 29% respectively in 2017, while the proportion enrolled in an Advanced Diploma, Diploma, Certificate III / IV has broadly remained the same.

Graph Image for Figure 4 - Enrolment in Certificate III-IV or above, by sex, 18-64 years, 2006 to 2016 (a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Prior to 2013, excludes people permanently unable to work. (b) Males and females enrolled in Certificate III/ IV, Diploma/Advanced Diploma, or Bachelor Degree or above, as a proportion of all persons for each sex and age group.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS Survey of Education and Work, 2006-2016



Enrolment in apprenticeships and traineeships

Between 2008 and 2017, young men aged 15–24 years were on average 4 times as likely to be enrolled in an apprenticeship/traineeship as young women this age (13% compared with 3% in 2017). Proportions of young men in apprenticeships and traineeships have been decreasing since 2008, while proportions for young women, while fluctuating over this time, have an average of 3.2%. (see Table 5.7).

Education and Employment

Not fully engaged in education and/or employment (NEET)

In 2017, around one in eight (11%) young people (aged 15–19 years old) was not fully engaged in either education or employment (that is, they were studying or working part-time only, or not studying or working at all). This proportion more than doubles (28%) for young women aged 20–24 years, and doubles (22%) for young men aged 20–24 years. Young women aged 20–24 years are consistently less likely to be fully engaged than young men (see Table 5.13). While caring for children may provide some explanation, only one quarter of woman aged 20–24 years in 2017 had one or more children.

Over the last 10 years the proportion of males aged 20-24 years not full engaged in education and/or employment has increased, from 14% in 2007 to 22% in 2017, while for females there has been no trend in the rate.

Graph Image for Figure 5 - Not fully engaged in education and or employment, by sex, 20-24 years, 2007 to 2017 (a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) In 2013 and 2014 education data is restricted to formal study (study for a qualification). Data for previous years include some people who may have been studying for a non-formal qualification. (b) Prior to 2013, excludes people permanently unable to work. (c) Males and females not fully engaged in education and/or employment as a proportion of persons for each sex and age group.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS Survey of Education and Work, 2006-2016



In 2014–15, over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 20–24 years were not fully engaged in education and/or employment (59% of women and 53% of men). While this proportion has been declining for women since 2002, the proportion for men over this time has remained relatively constant.

Around one in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15–19 years were not fully engaged in education or work in 2014–15: 30% of females and 35% of males in this age group (see Table 5.14).

Median starting salaries

In 2017, the median starting salary for female undergraduates was $59,000 compared with $60,100 for male undergraduates. Of note, the male starting salary rose by $100 between 2016 to 2017, whereas the female salary rose by $2,600. Female undergraduates in Science and Mathematics recorded the largest annual salary increase of $2,900 (5%). The largest annual salary decrease was for female undergraduates in the field of Dentistry, down $7,700 (-9%). The largest annual salary increase for undergraduate males was in the fields of Dentistry, up $10,600 (13%) and Psychology, up $6,000 (11%).

Only four of the nineteen fields of study, for which data are available, saw female undergraduates with a median starting salary higher or on par (a difference of $1,000 or less) with their male counterparts in 2017 (see Table 5.15). Engineering was the only field where women earned more ($1,500 per annum) than men in 2017. The fields with the largest gender pay gap, where men eared more than women, were in Dentistry ($19,500), Architecture and built environment ($7,800), Law and paralegal studies ($5,000).