More education equals more pay: report
In news which should bring some comfort to the state's stressed HSC students, they are likely to earn $330,000 more in their lifetime than someone who has not completed year 12.
The latest AMP-NATSEM report shows that Australians who finish high school earn $2.07 million over their lifetime, compared $1.74 million for people who complete year 11 or below.
People with postgraduate qualifications earn the most, reaping $3.17 million, $270,000 more than those who hold a bachelor degree.
Students who gain a certificate or a diploma fare better than those who have only completed year 12, earning $2.09 million and $2.36 million respectively.
The lead author of the report, Rebecca Cassells, of the University of Canberra's National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, said the Smart Australians report showed learning has economic dividends.
"Education does pay off," she said. "There is a return on education and you can see it in a dollar figure."
Being male is also an advantage, no matter what the educational attainment.
Postgraduate women will only earn $2.49 million, one-third less than a man with a postgraduate degree and the same as a man with a certificate level qualification.
In equity terms, women with a certificate are worst off, earning just over half the lifetime income of their male counterparts. Women with a diploma will earn 45 per cent less than men with the same qualification and women with a bachelor degree will earn 42 per cent less than male graduates.
"Women can't win," Ms Cassells said. "While women tend to be behind the eight ball to begin with in terms of their pay, there are also a number of other elements which will impact on their earnings: whether they get married, whether they have children, how long they take out of the workforce when they have children, how they engage with the workforce once they return."
Younger generations are better educated with 44 per cent of people aged 25-34 holding a tertiary qualification compared with 29.6 per cent of people aged 55-64.
While educational standards have been increasing, students from low socio economic backgrounds still face barriers, making up only 15 per cent of university attendees, short of the Federal Government's target of 20 per cent.
The $769 million in university funding cuts announced on Monday will not affect low income students, with the impact to be felt most strongly in research and development.
"That will affect our ability to produce research which will be helpful to the Australian economy and improve people's lives and wellbeing," Ms Cassells said.
"It will affect the ability of researchers to come up with innovations which will be economically beneficial — that's a real concern. It also means the best researchers will simply head overseas to better-funded universities."
An Ernst & Young report, University of the Future, to be released today, has found that no Australian university can survive until 2025 using current business models.
The author of the report, Ernst & Young executive director Justin Bokor, said universities needed to get much leaner, in terms of administrative staff and use of assets.
"Universities are are competing for students, they are competing for dollars and government funding is increasingly tight," he said.
"They cannot survive unless they become much for efficient. It's hard to drive change but market forces will compel them to do it."