Returns to adult education and training in New Zealand

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In this paper we analyse the impact of adult education and training on labour market outcomes. Using the New Zealand Household Labour Force Survey linked to administrative education and earnings data, we estimate that on average, studying for a tertiary qualification increases the likelihood of employment in the post-study period by 1-3 percentage points and raises annual earnings by about 5% for men and 12% for women.

In general, women who study for a tertiary qualification realise positive and significant gains but the same is not necessarily true for men. For example, completing a qualification has a strong effect on earnings for women but not for men. In addition, compared to not studying, studying for a level 4-6 certificate yields significant returns for women but not for men, while studying for a degree-level qualification produces strong returns for both men and women.

Studying as adults
What effects on their outcomes
Results are nuanced


Hyslop, Dean, Trinh Le and Lynn Riggs. 2020. "Returns to adult education and training in New Zealand." Motu Working Paper 20-03.


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