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Estonia - Monitoring labour market success of vocational graduates in Estonia

ReferNet Estonia

In 2013, a unique set of data was created by Statistics Estonia that allows evaluating the social success of vocational or higher education institution graduates of 2006-11.

Statistics Estonia used the data of the Estonian Education Information System, the Tax and Customs Board, the Population Register and the Unemployment Insurance Fund to assess the success of graduates from vocational education and training (VET) and higher education. 

Main indicators used were gross monthly income from employment and social status (continuing studies, employment rate and emigration). An interlinked database allows evaluating the life choices and labour market success of graduates of different education levels.

Comparison of average monthly salaries indicates that at all education levels, graduates of computer sciences, transport services, and engineering and security services earned the highest salaries. There is a direct correlation between education level and monthly income – the higher the level of education, the higher the income.

Leading statistician Koit Meres studied the social status of graduates with different education levels as another indicator of labour market success, reaching several important conclusions: ‘The results show that VET is not a dead end, as is often thought.’

About 11% of those who graduated from VET schools in the period 2006-11 had acquired a higher level of education by 2012; the corresponding share in higher education was 10%.

Unemployment depends both on level of education and on field of study. Graduates of a VET programme in health care have lower unemployment rate than those with a master degree in agriculture.

During the past six years, the average age of VET students has increased. In 2013/14, at least 50% of students were 20 or older. The percentage of individuals with higher education is also growing among VET students.

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ReferNet Estonia