New commissioned research from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University shows work experience while studying is associated with better labour outcomes at age 25.
The Industry Experiences and Their Role in Education to Work Transitions (PDF) report was commissioned as part of the Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching and Learning (PDF) and delivered for the Federal Department for Education, Skills and Training (now the Department of Education).
- While higher education is still associated with strong employment outcomes at age 25, apprentices and trainees have some of the best employment outcomes. Apprentices and trainees are likely to earn more, have higher rates of full-time employment, and report higher levels of job satisfaction than other groups at age 25.
- This data shows increasing levels of part-time work among young people at age 25 and falling levels of wage growth over time.
Work experience matters:
- Those with degree with a higher prevalence of work integrated learning (such as degrees in Health, Agriculture and Education) generally have better labour market outcomes at age 25. These individuals are 3% to 8% more likely to be employed at age 25, and 15% to 32% more likely to be in a high-skill job at age 25, compared to individuals with degree that had low prevalence of work-integrated-learning (WIL), such as degrees in Management and Commerce, Society and Culture, and Natural and Physical Sciences.
- Work experience while studying is associated with better labour outcomes at age 25. In 2005, young people who had some employment while studying a degree were between 8% and 10% more likely to be employed at age 25 compared to those who had no work experience while studying. By 2019, young people were between 21% and 25% more likely to be employed at age 25 compared to those who had no work experience while studying.
- The impact of skilled work experience is most noticeable for individuals who study courses with a low prevalence of WIL (such as degrees in Management and Commerce, Society and Culture, and Natural and Physical Sciences). These individuals are at least 14% to 20% more likely to be in skilled employment at age 25 when compared to individuals who completed similar degrees but did not have work experience at a high skill level.
- There is a mixed picture regarding the levels of skilled employment at age 25. The data suggests a plateau in the levels of skilled employment at age 25 between 2008 and 2016, with an increase in 2019. More research may be needed in this area.
- Higher education has grown considerably as a pathway for school leavers. Between 2005 and 2019, the data used in this research suggests the proportion of young people using higher education as their primary pathway from school has grown by about 14 percentage points.
This research suggests that finding ways to encourage relevant and authentic work experience may help improve the transitions young people make from education to work. This is particularly important for areas of study where there are traditionally lower instances of work integrated learning, such as those in the general sciences, humanities, and management and commerce areas of study.
Education Policy Fellow, Mitchell Institute
Research Fellow, Centre for International Research on Education Systems (CIRES)
Policy Fellow, Mitchell Institute
Associate Professor Michael Coelli
University of Melbourne
Dr Binh Ta