(Australian Associated Press)
Even the much-maligned arts degree is worth big money, and some university study could earn you millions more over a lifetime, a New Zealand study has found.
New data from Universities New Zealand has found the typical university graduate earns $NZ1.6 million ($A1.4 million) more over their working lifetime than someone who didn’t study.
And in specialised fields, such as engineering, a degree is worth about $NZ3 million more, or $NZ4 million more for medical students.
Universities New Zealand executive director Chris Whelan said the study – based on 2013 Census data – showed how inaccurate many of the myths about study were.
“I’m always surprised at how many people think that it’s not worth getting a university education because there’s better job security in the trades. Or, that the average arts graduate ends up working as a barista or in the local McDonald’s,” he said.
“At a headline level, when the numbers are crunched for all 2.15 million people that were in the workforce (in New Zealand) at the time of the Census, the clear message is that a degree is a very good investment.”
Even the much-maligned arts student had a better chance at jobs, with unemployment of about 3 per cent, compared to 8 per cent with plumbers or carpenters.
He said about 90 per cent of arts graduates ended up in degree-relevant roles.
The study found the more educated people were, the more they earned, with those with a doctorate making 22 per cent more than those with masters or honours levels degrees.
Those with any degree were earning more than 40 per cent on average than someone with just a high school education.
Creative or performing arts, religious studies and philosophy were the worst degrees to study if job security was top priority, Mr Whelan said.