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CVER Research Paper
Labour Market Returns to Vocational Qualifications in the Labour Force Survey
Steven McIntosh and Damon Morris
October 2016
Paper No' CVERDP002:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I26; I24; J31

Tags: vocational education; wages; labour market

This report uses data from the Labour Force Survey covering the period 1997-2015, to estimate wage premiums, or returns, to acquiring vocational qualifications. Different specifications of the wage equations are estimated, alternatively considering individuals who hold each qualification as their highest, and also the average returns across all individuals who hold a qualification whether or not it is their highest. The key message that comes out of the results, is that there is substantial variation in the estimated returns to vocational qualifications, across types of qualifications, levels, study subjects, and across points of the wage distribution. It is therefore not the case that a simple message about the returns to vocational qualifications can be delivered. Future work in this area needs to explain this variation in the value of vocational education.