Participation and attainment in education and work
Participation of young people in full-time education and/or work, by state/territory
Participation of young people in full-time education and/or work, time series
Young people who had completed qualifications, by state/territory
Young people who had completed qualifications, time series
Participation and attainment in education and work dataset
Notes and caveats
This dataset includes data on the participation in full-time education, training and employment of young people aged 15 to 24, including school students and those who have left school and have moved into tertiary study and/or the workforce. It also includes data on the educational attainment of these young people.
The Key Performance Measures (KPMs) related to participation and attainment specified in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia are:
Key Performance Measure 1(g) Proportion of 15–19 year-olds in full-time education or training, in full-time work, or both in part-time work and part-time education or training
Key Performance Measure 1(h) Proportion of 20–24 year-olds in full-time education or training, in full-time work, or both in part-time work and part-time education or training
Key Performance Measure 1(i) Proportion of 17–24 year-olds who have left school that are in full-time education or training, in full-time work, or both in part-time work and part-time education or training (from 2015)
Key Performance Measure 7(a) Proportion of the 20–24 year-old population having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent or AQF Certificate II or above
Key Performance Measure 7(b) Proportion of the 20–24 year-old population having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent or AQF Certificate III or above
Please note that data reported from the Survey of Education and Work (SEW) do not include data at the level of Indigenous status, or state/territory by sex. This level of detail is included in data reported from the Census of Population and Housing (Census). To view Census data on the bar charts, you must first select a Census year – 2006, 2011 or 2016 – as the calendar year, and then choose Census as the source.
Further information about data points in charts can be obtained from the tool tips by hovering over the data point in the chart.
Participation and attainment in education and work dataset
Download the Participation and attainment in education and work dataset.
Notes and caveats
Sources: ABS, Education and Work, Australia, May 2021; ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 2006, 2011, 2016
- Full-time participation is defined as participation in full-time education or training or full-time work, or a combination of both part-time education or training and part-time work.
- The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national framework of qualifications in the school, vocational education and training (VET), and higher education sectors in Australia. The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, Certificates II, III and IV, Diploma and Bachelor Degree are examples of qualifications within the AQF.
- Year 12 or equivalent includes AQF senior secondary certificates of education issued by Australian state and territory accreditation authorities and equivalent qualifications such as tertiary preparation certificates and school leaving qualifications obtained outside Australia. It also includes respondents to the Survey of Education and Work (SEW) and/or the Census of Population and Housing who indicated that their highest level of education was Year 12.
- AQF Certificate II is a VET qualification regarded as entry level training for employment (or a similar qualification gained outside Australia).
- AQF Certificate III is a VET qualification regarded as intermediate level training for employment (or a similar qualification gained outside Australia).
Survey of Education and Work (SEW) data
- The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) is run in the first two weeks of May each year as part of the Monthly Population Survey (MPS).
- The SEW estimates reported in tables include 95 per cent confidence intervals. Confidence intervals are a way of expressing the degree of sampling and measurement error associated with survey estimates. For example, an estimate of 80 with a 95 per cent confidence interval of ±2 means that if the total population was surveyed rather than a sample, there is a 95 per cent chance that the result would lie between 78 and 82.
- Only estimates (numbers or percentages) where the standard error is less than 25% of the reported statistic are considered sufficiently reliable for most analytical purposes. The confidence interval is equivalent to two standard errors. Estimates in some states for smaller proportions should be used with caution, while estimates where the standard error is greater than 50% of the reported statistic are considered too unreliable for general use and are not reported.
- COVID-19 impacts
- In May 2021, statistics continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting Australian Government closure of the international border in 2020. In particular, international travel restrictions and the impact on net overseas migration resulted in decreases in some key sub-populations of the survey (for example, the number of people currently studying for a non-school qualification).
- In May 2021, after a decrease in 2020, full-time participation in education and work returned to 2019 pre-COVID levels. The proportion of all people fully engaged in work and/or study was 59% in 2019, 57% in 2020, and 59% in 2021. This was reflected in rises in each of the three participation KPMs. In particular, participation by 15–19 year-olds KPM 1 (g) in 2021 increased to well above pre-2019 levels.
- In May 2020, various restrictions, including on international travel, were in place. These are likely to have impacted the survey results.
- In 2020, there was a decrease in full-time engagement in education and/or work across all states and most age groups 15-64, but this impacted more on younger people in the 20–24 age group, particularly males. The drop in the rates of full engagement for young men aged 20–24 was primarily driven by a drop in full-time employment. Young people were more likely to be not working or studying at all, rising from 11 per cent of people aged 20–24 years in May 2019 to 16 per cent in May 2020.
- There was also a fall in the number of people both studying and working. Between May 2019 and May 2020, the proportion of students aged 15–64 who were employed fell from 59 per cent to 50 per cent.
- These falls were reflected in the three participation KPMs 1(g), 1(h) and 1(i), which all decreased significantly between 2019 and 2020.
- The ABS advises that care should be taken when comparing SEW 2020 and SEW 2021 data with results from previous survey years, particularly for populations that are likely to have been impacted by COVID-19.
- The sample in the SEW was expanded in 2013 to include people who were permanently unable to work. This may result in slightly lower participation rates than would otherwise be the case.
- From 2012, SEW participation data has been limited to study for a qualification only, instead of all study.
- Prior to 2009 all persons in very remote areas were excluded from SEW. From 2009 onwards, SEW includes people in very remote areas but excludes people in Indigenous communities in very remote areas. This exclusion has only a minor impact on national estimates or estimates by State/Territory except for the Northern Territory where such people account for about 15 per cent of the population.
- SEW excludes students in boarding schools.
Census of Population and Housing Data
- Data drawn from the ABS Census of Population and Housing is included for Census years only (2006, 2011, 2016).
- All measures exclude respondents for whom either the Non-School Qualification Level of Education attained (QALLP), Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP), Full/Part time Student Status, Type of Education Institution Attending (TYPP) or Labour Force Status (LFSP) is "not stated" and it is not possible to determine whether these people can be counted in the numerator. When this occurs, these cells are removed from both numerator and denominator of the measure.
- All measures are derived from data extracted from the ABS Tablebuilder product. For privacy reasons, cells in Tablebuilder are subject to randomisation, meaning that a very small random amount (usually less than 10 persons) is added or subtracted from the count of persons. Therefore, in a small number of cases, the resulting measures may differ by 0.1 points from equivalent measures published elsewhere.
- "Education and training" - Source Table 11: Current Study
- "Full-time education and/or work" - Source Table 16: Fully engaged in employment or study
- "Full-time post-school education and/or work" - Source Table 17: Fully engaged in employment or study (exluding school) by age
- "Non-school qualification" - Source Table 25: Non-school qualifications
- "AQF Certificate III or above" - Source Table 33: Highest non-school qualification: Certificate III level or above
- "AQF Bachelor degree or above" - Source Table 34: Highest non-school qualification: Bachelor degree level or above
- "Year 12 or equivalent" - Source Table 18: Attainment of Year 12 or equivalent
- "Year 12 or equivalent or AQF Certificate II or above" - Source Table 19: Attainment of Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate II level or above
- "Year 12 or equivalent or AQF Certificate III or above" - Source Table 20: Attainment of Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate III level or above
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