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CVER Research Paper
BTECs, higher education and labour market outcomes using the Longitudinal Education Outcome (LEO) dataset
Alice Battiston, Gavan Conlon and Pietro Patrignani October 2019
Paper No' CVERDP024:
Full Paper (pdf)

Abstract In this paper, we investigate individual characteristics and labour market outcomes for students progressing to first degree qualifications after attaining a level 3 BTEC. Using a comparison group of individuals holding level 3 BTECs as their highest qualification, we estimate earnings and employment differentials for students progressing to a first degree. Earnings differentials estimates are typically positive and, in the most comprehensive specification used, around 18% and 22% (males and females respectively) for the group with level 3 BTECs and no A levels and about 15% and 23% for the group holding a combination of BTECs and A levels. Employment effects are also positive and between 1.5 and 2 percentage points. A comparison with outcomes observed for the group achieving first degree qualifications after achieving 2 or more A levels is more problematic due to the very substantial difference in characteristics between individuals who follow different routes into higher education. However, analysis by degree subject area suggests that earnings differentials are comparable across level 3 routes (BTECs and 2 + A levels) for students achieving degrees in ‘Architecture’, ‘Engineering and Technology’, and (for females only) ‘Subjects allied to Medicine’.