School to work: What matters? Education and Employment of Young People Born in 1991

This study explores the education and employment experiences of young people born in 1991. The main purpose of the study is to explore the kinds of employment and labour market measures that can be derived from data in Statistics New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) and how these vary across groups of young people with different educational experiences and achievement.

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Commissioning agencies
Date of last publication
Jun 2016

Purpose

This study explores the education and employment experiences of a birth cohort of young people. It uses data from the Statistics New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). The IDI is a linked longitudinal dataset of administrative data from government agencies. It is available for policy evaluation and research analysis, and the production of statistical outputs on the transitions and outcomes of people (Statistics New Zealand, 2015).

The main purpose of the study is to explore the kinds of employment and labour market measures that can be derived from the IDI data and how these vary across groups of young people with different educational experiences and achievement. An immediate use of this has been to inform the selection of outcome measures to be used for monitoring the Youth Guarantee policies (Earle, 2015). This study establishes a base for further exploration of the outcomes for different groups of young people and the relationship of these to education.

This study is descriptive in nature. There is opportunity for future studies to use multivariate statistical methods to gain better understanding of the effects of different variables.

Key Results

School experience can be looked at in two ways: performance and engagement. Performance can be measured through relative achievement in NCEA. Engagement can be measured by whether students have been stood down, suspended or had serious truancy.

Young people with higher school performance and no experience of disengagement are much more likely than other young people to go on to tertiary education and to find full employment.

Young people who were disengaged at school are more likely to leave New Zealand or to be not in employment, education or training (NEET). This effect is over and above any effect of their level of school performance.

School background and achievement are strongly related to the extent to which young people are employed. A higher proportion of young people with NCEA Level 2 or higher were in employment. The majority of young people in full employment, and no longer in study, had attained at least NCEA Level 2 and/or studied tertiary education at Level 4 and above.

However, earnings for young people are mostly dependent on whether they are in full or part employment. When their extent of employment is taken into account, there is very little difference in earnings by school background or achievement. For young people who have completed a tertiary qualification by age 22, who do not continue in study, their qualification level had a small association with higher annual earnings at age 23. This provides an early indication of the effect of qualification completion on earnings.

While higher-qualified young people are much less likely to be NEET, they still make up a significant minority of those who are NEET.

In more recent cohorts (up to 1995), the proportion of young people going overseas has increased, particularly between 19 and 22. Of those staying in New Zealand, more 16 to 19 year olds are staying in education. The proportion who are NEET and/or on benefit has been decreasing.

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