Median earnings by qualification level

Smaller increase in weekly than hourly earnings

New Zealanders with a bachelors or higher qualification had a smaller increase from 2007 to 2017 in weekly than in hourly earnings (adjusted for inflation).

Despite this difference, all tertiary-qualified New Zealanders enjoy higher earnings than those with a lower-level qualification, or no, qualification.

Date Updated: December 2018

Indicator Description

Median hourly and weekly earnings from wages and salaries for the population aged 15 years and over. Data is for the year ended June 2017.

Weekly earnings up 2.3 percent, hourly earnings up 6.6 percent

The median weekly earnings of people with a bachelors or higher qualification increased by 2.3 percent from 2007 to 2017 (adjusted for inflation).1 This compared to an increase of 6.6 percent in median hourly earnings for this group (adjusted for inflation).

The inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings of people with a bachelors or higher qualification were $999 in 2017. This compared to $977 in 2007.

Comparing 2017 with 2007 – inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings:

  • up by 3.6 percent to $800 for people with a level 4 to 6 diploma or certificate
  • up by 5.9 percent to $429 for people with only a school qualification
  • down by 1.7 percent to $370 for people without a qualification.
Figure 1: Inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings for the population aged 15 years and over by highest qualification

Notes:

  1. The Consumers Price Index (all groups) has been used to inflation adjust earnings and the base period is the year ended June 2017.
  2. In June 2013, the qualification question in the Household Labour Force Survey was updated, leading to improved estimates of people with school qualifications.
  3. From 2013, ‘tertiary diplomas and certificates’ excludes level 7 diplomas and certificates.
  4. From 2013, ‘no qualification’ excludes people who did not state their qualification.
  5. Data for 2013 is based on the June, September and December quarters.
  6. From 2013 onwards, the detailed data is not directly comparable with previous years due to the above changes.
  7. Median weekly earnings are based on the weekly pay information from all jobs held by people.


Comparing 2017 with 2007 – inflation-adjusted median hourly earnings:

  • up by 6.6 percent to $30.2 for people with a bachelors or higher qualification (the rate was $28.3 in 2007)
  • up by 4.7 percent to $25 for people with a level 4 to 6 diploma or certificate
  • up by 7.3 percent to $20.0 for people with a school qualification
  • the largest increase of 15 percent to $20.0, was for people without a qualification – it is likely that minimum wage adjustments contributed to this increase.
Figure 2: Inflation-adjusted median hourly earnings for the population aged 15 years and over by highest qualification

Notes:

  1. The Consumers Price Index (all groups) has been used to inflation adjust earnings and the base period is the year ended June 2017.
  2. In June 2013, the qualification question in the Household Labour Force Survey was updated, leading to improved estimates of people with school qualifications.
  3. From 2013, ’tertiary diplomas and certificates’ excludes level 7 diplomas and certificates.
  4. From 2013, ‘no qualification’ excludes people who did not state their qualification.
  5. Data for 2013 is based on the June, September and December quarters.
  6. From 2013 onwards, the detailed data is not directly comparable with previous years due to the above changes.
  7. Median hourly earnings are based on the usual weekly pay of people’s main job.


Figures 3 and 4 below show the weekly and hourly median earnings of the population aged 15 years overs by qualification level for the years from 2007 to 2017. The earnings have not been adjusted for inflation.

Figure 3: Median weekly earnings for the population aged 15 years and over by highest qualification

Notes:

  1. In June 2013, the qualification question in the Household Labour Force Survey was updated, leading to improved estimates of people with school qualifications.
  2. From 2013, ‘tertiary diplomas and certificates’ excludes level 7 diplomas and certificates.
  3. From 2013, ‘no qualification’ excludes people who did not state their qualification.
  4. Data for 2013 is based on the June, September and December quarters.
  5. From 2013 onwards, the detailed data is not directly comparable with previous years due to the above changes.
  6. Median weekly earnings are based on the weekly pay information from all jobs held by people.
Figure 4: Median hourly earnings for the population aged 15 years and over by highest qualification

Notes:

  1. In June 2013, the qualification question in the Household Labour Force Survey was updated, leading to improved estimates of people with school qualifications.
  2. From 2013, ‘tertiary diplomas and certificates’ excludes level 7 diplomas and certificates.
  3. From 2013, ‘no qualification’ excludes people who did not state their qualification.
  4. Data for 2013 is based on the June, September and December quarters.
  5. From 2013 onwards, the detailed data is not directly comparable with previous years due to the above changes.
  6. Median hourly earnings are based on the usual weekly pay from people’s main job.

Reference

  • Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey, New Zealand Income Survey (June quarter) and Consumers Price Index, Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.

Footnote

  1. The earnings data and Consumers Price Index data used in this indicator are for the years ended June.

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