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CVER Research Paper

Labour Market Returns to Vocational Qualifications in the Labour Force Survey


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.


Steven McIntosh and Damon Morris

24 October 2016     Paper Number CVERDP002

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This CVER Research Paper is published under the centre's Education and skills programme.