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Education linked to an increase in pay

A diploma certificate will increase your pay by 14 per cent

These are the findings of a 10-year survey by the Australian Council for Educational Research. But just as the slowing economy has more people seeking to boost their prospects with degrees and diplomas, there are early signs universities may struggle to keep pace with demand.

First-round offer data from Victoria yesterday shows university offers fell by 1386, or 3.3 per cent, as the increase in government-funded places failed to make up for the loss of 3500 full-fee places, abolished by the federal Labor Government.

Instead, the slack appears to have been taken up by private colleges, where offers are up by 1345, or 51 per cent.

"This is a serious situation since this is clearly the time (to expand places) when there is a lull in the jobs market," said Bob Birrell, director of Monash University's Centre for Population and Urban Research.

Victorian Skills Minister Jacinta Allan said the gross unmet demand, or the difference between the number of Victorians applying for university and those successfully getting a place, was running at 13,000 compared with 10,000 this time last year. The figures include those applying but not meeting entry criteria.

ACER research director Phillip McKenzie said the relative benefit of a qualification was likely to be even bigger during times of recession.

"Generally when looking at other downturns, the relative pay-off of a qualification tends to increase in the sense that it gives you a greater probability of gaining work," Dr McKenzie told The Australian.

"When there are a lot of people competing for jobs, employers are more inclined to use education credentials as a way of screening applicants."

The research found that diploma certificates boosted earnings by 14 per cent while a traineeship delivered an 8 per cent earnings boost.


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