Ministry report outlines employment prospects for law school grads

by NZ Lawyer30 May 2014
Bachelors-level law school graduates have higher rates of further study than most other graduates, according to the Ministry of Education’s What young graduates earn when they leave study report and, perhaps unsurprisingly, their employment rates increased most between years one and seven after completing their initial qualification.

However, disappointingly, median earnings increase relatively slowly over that time.

“This is likely to be because only a proportion of bachelors level law graduates took the pathway into a professional legal career, a graduate certificate (level seven) or postgraduate certificate/diploma (level eight) that confers admittance to barrister status and earnings shown are a median, so also capture those that did not do their ‘professionals’,” reads the report.

Initial employment rates for levels seven and eight graduates were very high and changed little by year seven. Further study rates are low for both level seven and level eight graduates, indicating that those who are admitted to the bar have relatively good, sustained employment prospects.

In most fields of study, employment rates are initially higher at higher levels of study – for example in electrical and electronic engineering, business and management and computer science. This is partly because at lower qualification levels, initial employment rates are low because graduates are more likely to advance to further study. But that further study is likely to enhance employment prospects in later years.

Other points of interest in the Ministry’s report include:
  • In the first year after study, 54% of young bachelors graduates across all fields, who stayed in New Zealand, were employed and 40% were in further study.
  • Very few young people who complete a qualification at diploma level or above are on a benefit in the first seven years after study. For those who stay in New Zealand, the benefit rate is 6% for diploma graduates and 2% at bachelors level in each of the first seven years after study. This figure is around 14% for those who graduated with certificates at levels 1-3.
  • Young graduates with bachelors degrees in medicine earn the most of all bachelors graduates. The median income for medical graduates is over $110,300 five years after leaving study, compared to $51,600 for all young bachelors graduates. Bachelors degree graduates in creative arts have the lowest earnings among young bachelors graduates after five years and have relatively high rates of benefit receipt.
  • The top ten fields of study in terms of median earnings for young domestic bachelors graduates five years after leaving study are: medical studies ($110,300), pharmacy ($73,000), radiography ($70,400), dental studies ($67,600), civil engineering ($66,800), manufacturing, engineering and technology ($63,600), veterinary studies ($62,300), computer science ($62,100), banking, finance and related fields ($61,600) and other information technology ($59,200). These earnings compare to $51,600 for all young bachelors graduates. Bachelors degree graduates in creative arts have the lowest median earnings among young bachelors graduates after five years ($42,900 on average, ranging from $37,200 for performing arts to $44,900 for communication and media studies).
The original report can be found here