How NZ stacks up for students

The OECD has just released its annual ‘Education at a Glance’ report, which takes a look at the state of education around the world. The theme that emerged in their findings is that the value of education is rising, but investment in education is falling.

The specific findings for New Zealand are pretty embarrassing for this Government.

What I’m most interested in are the figures for the ‘earnings premium’ from a tertiary education – in other words, the difference in how much you earn based on your level of education.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has been justifying his cuts to student allowances and loans by arguing that you earn more if you study, so you can afford to pay your own way.

Except, the figures from the OECD fly in the face of his arguments. They show that New Zealanders receive the lowest increase in earnings from a tertiary education compared to all OECD countries.

In 2011, someone with a tertiary education in New Zealand earned 18% more than someone with a secondary education. But, the OECD average is 57%.

As well as being a poor justification for removing access to allowances, it also shows how attractive moving overseas will be for many graduates.

Steven Joyce needs to value students and graduates, not punish them. I hope that these findings are a wake-up call for the Minister.

12 Comments Posted

  1. Gerrit; My Friend, the Writer Graham Billing (rip) retained the ability to hand splice rope to rope fastenings – never seen the like of it before or since…..

  2. BJ,

    We do wire to rope splicing using polyester or dyneema. Simply because you cannot press a talurit onto rope.

    We use a copper or brass talurit pressed onto wire for use in masthead halyard locks.

    On big boats we machine halyard lock “bullets” out of 2205 stainless (25 to 30mmm diameter) and splice 10mm dynnema (100 ton breaking strain) leaders and tails through the hollow bullet to be caught in a flipper lock arrangement.

    On smaller boats (where we look at 6 to 8mm bullets) the machined hollow bullets would be too weak to get the smallest 3mm dyneema braid through so we use a press to attach copper or brass talurits (bullets) to 2, 2.5 or 3mm 7×19 stainless wire.

    These locks are simpler slide and hook arrangement as such are cheaper and more affordable then the very expensive flipper type.

    Masthead halyard locks are used to take compression forces out of a mast, especially important in carbon masts. Less compression forces also means the tip of the mast reacts faster to wind gusts making safer sailing.

    With masthead halyard locks the halyard only has to be strong enough to run the sail up the mast. Usually 6 to 8mm polyester lightweight braid is sufficient, whereas if the halyard was fully loaded and locked at the base of the mast you would need expensive 12 to 16mm dyneema or spectra braid that is prone to stretching especially on a 25 to 30 metre mast.

    You actually could run 3mm dyneema halyards with halyard locks as it is rated at 1000kg breaking strain but it would not be easy on the hands.

    Hence the need to do wire to rope splicing for halyard locks on smaller (usually under 30 ft) boats.

  3. I was actually thinking of it the way you meant it Gerrit. I don’t think there should be a huge premium, but I think we all need to be paid better and the bankers paid a bit less.

    You talking Nylon or… do they still even have hemp? I remember some of it from my Navy days but if I said I understood what you meant exactly I’d be lying. Don’t remember that ever being done…. why would you?

  4. Dunno about this. The stats say we are turning out more tertiary educated people than the OECD average, which may thus impact on their ability to command a wage premium. I tend to think Gerrit has a point – it appears a lot of technical education does result in an ‘earnings premium’, but simply having attended a university course of some sort doesn’t seem to be a good reason for paying somebody more. I haven’t particularly noticed that university education produces more competent workers.

    Of course, education in many subjects may have benefits above and beyond increasing one’s wage packet.

  5. BJ,

    Was using “rocket scientist” moniker in a colloquial sense (as in knowledgeable and able person).

    For example, was showing people how I do rope to wire splicing. First thing they said, that is so easy. To which I replied you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn this. That is the context I used “rocket scientist”.

    But then as I’m able and knowledgeable about rope to wire splicing I could be considered a rocket scientist!!!!!.

    Totally agree the cost of education has to be reduced, as has the number of students at university. Need better and targeted education. The current shotgun approach in having students doing meaningless courses has to stop.

    Funding is not measured by outcomes (which is where the “earnings premium” ratio might come in handy) but it should be.

  6. Gerrit I don’t think there’s enough of a market for the “Rocket Scientists” to get a premium. Certainly I’ve found the employment opportunities for us sorely lacking. The agricultural sector needs none, and there’s stuff all else actually built here. Hell, I’m planning to go back into Sys Admin work now. Employers think they can get away with abusing the brain trust and with that everyone with one is leaving for better paid places.

    That said, I do NOT believe that a large premium should attach. Just that the large cost of the education should be reduced… and reduced more if they work here in NZ instead of heading off to Oz.

    But for that to work there has to be enough work here, and really there is not much of that at all.

  7. dbuckley: it’s not about who pays the premium, it’s about the relative earnings. If a graduate looking for a job can apply for any of 200 jobs in Australia and expect to get paid $AUS50k ($NZ70k-ish), or can apply for 10 similar jobs in NZ at $NZ40k… they’re likely to at least look at Australia.

    There’s also the issue of charging graduates 5 years of their earning premium on the assumption that they will all actually get higher-paying jobs… some don’t even get jobs. For others it’s less than a year of extra pay…

    For me, I also had major hassles with the IRD when I was trying to pay off my loan from Australia. They couldn’t work out how much I owed, whether I’d made payments, or when I needed to make them. When I finally paid it off I spent more than a year arguing with them about the various penalties they charged me for not making further payments. And they repeatly “lost” my email address and Australian addresses, preferring to send only paper notifications to my last NZ address (and then penalise me when I didn’t respond to those in a timely manner). It was very tempting to say “sod this, it’s not worth the effort” and just let the country stew in its own stupidity.

  8. The elephant in the room is the TYPE of graduates we educate. Surely there must be a column in the discussion of how many “rocket engineers” that are educated and able to be placed into R+D employment versus the volume of arts students educated and only good enough for a (at best) teachers salary?

    You cannot have a meaningfull earnings premium measurement if the education of hundreds of law students is undertaken for less then 30 odd jobs available.

    The other part of the equation not taken into account is the on site training done by business of non graduates who’s earnings as employees can far out weigh any graduate earnings.

    If judging by the education standards of interns, employed by some of my customers is any indication, the univercities are not turning out graduates of sufficient high enough standard to meet the requirments of the employer.

  9. Key wants to have more obedient ,less brainy “slaves” to stay in NZ. He doesn’t like smart people outside their little circle, and we all know why…

  10. Been banging the ‘earnings premium’ drum here for years…

    The differences is who gets the blame. Holly blames the government. I blame the employers.

  11. But you don’t think these results are more in keeping with the draconian labour laws we have, where unions are almost non existent, and tertiary educated persons tend not to belong to Unions anyway?

    What was the ratio when Steven Joyce was getting his tertiary education, and what labour laws existed then?

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