Income outcomes - Yearly

For this analysis we take 19 year old New Zealand resident, determine their training pathway at age 19 and whether they complete their study/training by age 25. From these pathways we track persons median income during, and beyond training.

The 5 ITOs separated from other ITOs are BCITO, Competenz, Connexis, Skills Org and MITO.

While studying, university graduates have the lowest median income. On the other hand apprentices from construction, infrastructure and engineering ITOs have the annual income until graduates gain a few years of experience in the workforce.

When looking at more recent populations we observe a growth in income of apprentices, while university graduates are traveling down much the same trajectory. While university graduates from the 2003 population have matched apprentices at age 26 in the 2009 population apprentices were still earning $6,000 more than university graduates at the furthest age we can see, 28.

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To conduct this analysis, 11 cohorts of 19 year old New Zealand residents that were enrolled in training institutions at age 19 from the Ministry of Education records. Each cohort is classified based on the year that they turned 19. These cohorts were then categorised based on the highest qualification the individual had obtained by age 25. Using IRD records the median incomes for each cohort was calculated based on the category they were in and tracked over time.

The categories include university, trade apprentices, other ITOs, ITP (Institute of Technology and Polytechnique), and no training. We broke up the Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) into two categories, trade apprentices and other ITOs. The trade apprentices comes from the trade related ITOs such as BCITO, Competenz, Skills Org, Connexis and MITO.

If a person moved overseas and had no income in that year they would be excluded from the calculation of the median, as they would not have active IRD tax records. Income is calculated from wages, salaries and business income sources. Beneficiary income and rental incomes are excluded.


Access to the anonymised data used in this study was provided by Statistics New Zealand in accordance with security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975, and secrecy provisions of the Tax Administration Act 1994. The findings are not Official Statistics. The results in this paper are the work of the authors, not Statistics NZ, and have been confidentialised to protect individuals, households, businesses, and other organisations from identification. Read our full disclaimer here.

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Income outcomes of tertiary pathways

Leave school, go to uni, get a degree, get a job and a haircut. Or could there be another way?

Apprentices Income University Polytechnic Income outcomes University graduates IRD Longitudinal Tertiary Time series