Education and Work, Australia

Latest release

Data on engagement in work and/or study, current and recent study, qualifications, and transitions to work

Reference period
May 2022

Key statistics

Of people aged 15-74:

  • 32% had a non-school qualification. 
  • 79% with a non-school qualification, and 58% without, were employed.
  • 85% who finished a non-school qualification in 2021 were employed in 2022.

Of those aged 15-24:

  • 63% were currently studying.
  • 8% were not engaged in any work or study.

Engagement in work and/or study

A person who is either working full-time, studying full-time, or both working and studying is fully engaged. A person who is only working part-time, or only studying part-time, is partially engaged. 

In 2022:

  • 60% of Australians aged 15-74 years (11.5 million people) were fully engaged in work or study. 
  • 16% (3.0 million people) were partially engaged.
  • 24% (4.5 million people) were not engaged in either work or study.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 15 and customised data

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 15 and customised data

Just over three-quarters of the 2.1 million people currently studying for a certificate, diploma or degree were also working: 

  • 40% worked part-time.
  • 37% worked full-time.

 

Fully and partially engaged in work and/or study

Of those aged 15-74 years:

  • 71% of men were fully engaged in work and/or study.
  • 50% of women were fully engaged.

Young people aged 15-24 years were the most likely to be fully engaged in work and study (82%), with similar rates for both men and women.

Full engagement for young people was highest in the Australian Capital Territory (88%), followed by New South Wales and Victoria (84% each).

(a) All persons aged 15-24 years.                        
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 16

In 2022 the balance of work and study had changed for young people aged 15-24 years:

  • 26% were fully engaged primarily through full-time work in 2022, compared with 24% in 2021.
  • 50% were fully engaged primarily through full-time study in 2022, compared with 53% in 2021.

The rate of full engagement for women aged 25-44 years with young children (under five years) was less than half that of their male counterparts (36% and 88% respectively).

Women aged 20-64 years were more likely to be partially engaged with work or study (26%) than men aged 20-64 years (9%).

 

Not engaged in work or study

While the proportion of people not engaged in work or study increased through 2020 and 2021 due to impacts of COVID-19, these rates had largely returned to pre-COVID levels for all age groups by 2022. 

Engagement differs across age groups:

  • 8% of young people aged 15-24 years were not engaged in any work or study, the lowest proportion of all age groups. 
  • The majority (77%) of people aged 65-74 years were not working or studying.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Customised data

Current and recent study

Currently enrolled in study

In 2022:

  • Almost 3 million people aged 15-74 years (16%) were currently studying, including school students.
  • 63% of all students were aged 15-24 years, with a further 14% aged 25-34 years.
  • 31% of these current students were at school, while 42% were at higher education institutions, 15% were studying at technical and further education (TAFE) institutions, and 12% were studying at other education or training institutions.
  • 66% of current students (including school students) were enrolled in full-time study.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Customised data

Young people and school leavers

In 2022:

  • 63% of people aged 15-24 years were at school or enrolled in further studies in 2022, compared with 65% in 2021 (and at similar levels to 2019 and 2020, both 63%).
  • 43% of all people aged 20-24 years were studying for a non-school qualification, compared with 45% in 2021, and 46% in both 2020 and 2019. 
  • 58% of school leavers who had finished Year 12 in 2021 were studying for a non-school qualification in 2022, with the majority enrolled in a bachelor degree.

Of school leavers who had finished in 2021 with qualifications at Year 11 or below:

  • 42% were studying for a non-school qualification in 2022.
  • 22% had undertaken vocational education and training (VET) as part of their school studies.

 

Studying for a non-school qualification (certificate, diploma or degree)

In 2022, 2.1 million people aged 15-74 years were studying for a non-school qualification. Of these current students:

  • 19% were undertaking post-graduate studies, including postgraduate degrees, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates (16% of male students and 21% of female students).
  • 39% were studying for a bachelor degree (38% of male students and 40% of female students).
  • 12% were studying for a diploma or advanced diploma (12% each of male and female students).
  • 22% were studying for a certificate III or IV (27% of male students and 22% of female students).

(a) Persons aged 15-74 who were studying for a non-school qualification in 2022.
(b) Excludes people who were studying for a certificate I or II, and people whose level of non-school study was unable to be determined.
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Customised data

The profile of current students is getting older. In 2022, around 49% of people studying for a non-school qualification were aged 15-24 years. This compares with 52% of all students a decade earlier in 2012, and 54% of all students in 2002.

 

Fields of study

Of students who were currently undertaking a non-school qualification:

  • 22% were studying for a qualification in the field of society and culture (15% of male students and 28% of female students).
  • 18% were studying management and commerce (19% of male students and 18% of female students).
  • 17% were studying health (11% of male students and 22% of female students).
  • 11% were studying engineering and related technologies (20% of male students and 3% of female students).

(a) Persons aged 15-74 who were studying for a non-school qualification.
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 5

Studies in STEM

In 2022:

  • 442,000 people were studying for a non-school qualification in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field. Almost three-quarters (73%) of current STEM students were men. 
  • A further 464,000 people were studying for a non-school qualification in the STEM-related fields of architecture and building, and health. 
  • While 82% of architecture and building students were men, reflecting the overall STEM trend, 73% of all students studying for a non-school qualification in health were women.

 

Ongoing and incomplete studies

In 2022, of people aged 15-74 years who had been enrolled in a qualification in the previous year (2021):

  • 1.4 million (56%) had not completed the non-school qualification they were enrolled in. For most people (87%), this was due to their ongoing enrolment in 2022.
  • 175,000 (13%) had either deferred or dropped out of their qualification. That is, they had not completed a qualification they were enrolled in during 2021 and were no longer studying in 2022.

 

Apprentices and trainees

Approximately 297,000 people aged 15-74 years were employed as apprentices or trainees (including school-based apprentices or trainees). Of these:

  • 76% were aged 15-24 years.
  • 75% were male.
  • 55% had started their apprenticeship or traineeship in the last 12 months.

Around 22,000 people who had applied for an apprenticeship or traineeship in 2022 did not take up the place they were offered, while around 32,000 who had applied did not gain a place.

Qualifications held

Qualifications at year 12 or certificate III level or above

In 2022, of people aged 20-24 years: 

  • 90% had attained a qualification at year 12 or certificate III level or above.
  • 93% of women held qualifications at this level, compared with 88% of men. 
  • 98% of those in the Australian Capital Territory held qualifications at this level.

(a) All persons aged 20-24 years.
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 20

Non-school qualifications

Attained or studying for a non-school qualification

In 2022, 12.9 million people aged 15-74 years (68%) had, or were currently studying for, a non-school qualification (a certificate, diploma or degree). 


Non-school qualifications held

Overall, the same proportion of men and women aged 15-74 years (63%) had attained a non-school qualification (5.9 million men and 6.1 million women). 

These rates of attainment differed by age group, with older men more likely to hold a non-school qualification than older women (cohorts aged 50-54 years and older). 

Conversely, younger women were more likely to hold a non-school qualification than younger men.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 25

Non-school qualifications at bachelor degree level and above

In 2022: 

  • 50% of women aged 25-44 years had a qualification at bachelor degree level or above (50%), compared with 39% of men in the same age group. 
  • 32% overall of people aged 15-74 years had a bachelor degree, with notable variations across age groups.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Customised data

People living in major cities were more likely to have a bachelor degree or above (36%) than those living in inner regional areas (21%), outer regional areas (19%), or remote and very remote areas (18%).

(a) All persons aged 15-74 years.
(b) Changes over time for remote and very remote series are not statistically significant.
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 34

Non-school qualifications below bachelor degree level

In 2022:

  • 30% of people aged 15-74 years had a certificate, diploma or advanced diploma as their highest qualification. 
  • 33% of men had a certificate, diploma or advanced diploma as their highest qualification, compared with 27% of women.
  • The proportions of young men and women aged 15-24 years who had a non-school qualification below bachelor degree level was similar.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Customised data

Education and employment

Transitions from study to work

In 2022, of people aged 15-74 years who had completed a non-school qualification in 2021:

  • 85% were employed in 2022.
  • 5% were looking for work. 

Just under 72% of people aged 15-20 years who had finished Year 12 in 2021 were employed in 2022. Of these school leavers:

  • 6% were studying while working full-time.
  • 35% were studying while working part-time.

 

Non-school qualifications and employment

People aged 15-74 years with a non-school qualification (certificate, diploma or degree) were more likely to be employed (79%) than those without a non-school qualification (58%). 

The higher the qualification, the more likely people were to work full-time: 

  • 74% of men with a degree at bachelor level or above worked full-time, compared with 69% with a non-school qualification below bachelor level, and 44% with no non-school qualifications.
  • 53% of women with a degree at bachelor level or above worked full-time, compared with 39% with a non-school qualification below bachelor level, and 23% with no non-school qualifications.

(a) All persons aged 15-74 years.
(b) Includes certificates I-IV and n.f.d., diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees.
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, customised data

Skill level of occupation

People with non-school qualifications were more likely to work in jobs with higher skill levels:

  • 44% worked in Skill level 1 jobs (the highest skill level, including occupations such as pharmacists, architects, school principals, farm managers, arts professionals, etc.). 
  • 14% worked in Skill level 3 jobs (plumbers, hairdressers, butchers, etc.).
  • 21% worked in Skill level 4 jobs (receptionists, delivery drivers, miners, etc.).

Most people without a qualification worked in either Skill level 4 or Skill level 5 jobs (33% and 31% respectively).

(a) All persons aged 15-74 years.
Source: Education and Work, Australia, 2022, Table 32

Data downloads

Education and work

Data files

Survey material

Education and work 2022 Questionnaire

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6227.0.

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