Motu Note #42

Characteristics of Adults undertaking Education and Training in New Zealand

Note overview

In this paper we analyse the education and training and labour market outcomes of adults aged 25-64 in New Zealand, using data sources from Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure as well as from publicly available data.

Using the Household Labour Force Survey matched to administrative employment and earnings data, we estimate that about 7% of adults in this age group report studying over the period 2006–18, of which about two-thirds (5%) is considered ‘formal’ study. Both overall study rates and the fraction in formal study are positively correlated with existing education levels, ranging from 2% for those with no qualifications up to 9% for those with at least level 7 qualifications.

We describe the trends in outcomes from five years before their reported study to five years after and find that the employment rates and average earnings of those studying generally increase over time relative to those not studying. Analysis of MOE data shows that these adult students who complete their qualification experience increases in employment rates and employment income after their study, especially for those who study for a level 7 qualification.

We also use data from the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey in order to delve more into the nature of education and training that is not part of a qualification program and find that most of these activities are job-related. We find that participants in these activities are much more likely to be employed (90%) than non-participants (65%) and that 73% of participants report that all of their time spent in these activities is job-related. Moreover, 38% of respondents reported wanting more time for learning activities but did not participate, and the most frequently cited reason by these respondents for not participating is "too busy at work". 


New Zealand Productivity Commission, as a research input into its frontier firms inquiry.