Big differences in graduates' pay highlighted

Steven Joyce.
Steven Joyce.
A Government report has revealed large gaps between the incomes of graduates from different degree courses, with those who studied medicine earning nearly three times those taking performing arts. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce welcomed the Ministry of Education report on the career income prospects of people taking various tertiary subjects, saying it would be useful for students when considering their career options.

''It's very clear that study at higher levels improves your career prospects. I encourage young people to take every advantage they can of their tertiary study opportunities to obtain the skills to compete in the modern world,'' he said.

The report, being released today, reveals a large gap in the earning power of different subjects, with medical school graduates the top earners, with a median income of $109,977 five years after they graduated and performing arts graduates earning the least, with a median income of $35,552 five years after finishing study.

Mr Joyce said the data would be used by Careers New Zealand in a new online tool allowing students to compare earnings by qualification and field of study.

''The choice of study is very much a decision for students and their families. The Government has committed to provide better information to assist in making those choices, for the benefit of students and for the very significant investment taxpayers make in tertiary education,'' he said.

This report, called ''Moving on up - What young people earn after their tertiary education'', would complement a new report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on the demand outlook for major occupations, due out next month, he said.



The figures

Income five years after graduating from selected courses. -

Subject                                                            Median income

Medical studies                                                  $109,977

Dental studies                                                    $76,083

Engineering                                                        $61,379

Accountancy                                                      $60,473

Building                                                              $57,860

Law                                                                     $56,894

Computer science                                             $55,869

Nursing                                                              $55,158

Teacher education                                            $49,923

Performing arts                                                 $35,552




No way, I didn't see that coming! Medicine graduates are well paid, who would have thunk it?

Science graduate pay

I see they do not mention science graduates and more specifically biological science graduates. These are the people who perform important research including cancer research and stem cell research, which then goes into a clinical application.

Other countries in the world are investing in biological scientists.

I can assure everybody that a graduate scientist with some 20 years of research experience in molecular cell biology (That is DNA sequencing, RNA, cells, tissues, cancer research, stem cell research etc.) gets paid the same as a performing arts graduate!

When I moved from Oxford University in 2005 (Where I had been on fully funded sabbatcal at Yale etc) I was paid $36,000NZD per year! It was a huge shock and we never recovered.

I would not advise anybody to study biological sciences in NZ.

What a pointless exercise

What a pointless exercise.  Tell us something we don't already know.  

Ever heard of a garrett?

Zut! I hope they didn't spend money rediscovering what artists have known for centuries. These findings do not make Arts degrees less worthy.

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