Tertiary enrollment is expanding rapidly, with very strong returns for individuals and taxpayers, but new evidence shows that universities can fail to offer, and individuals fail to pursue, the fields of study that promise the greatest labour-market opportunities, according to a new OECD report.
Education at a Glance 2017 includes for the first time in-depth analysis of the subjects students take at vocational and tertiary level. It finds that business, administration and law are the most popular careers in countries surveyed, chosen by around one in four students. This compares to 16% in engineering, construction and manufacturing, and less than 5% of students study information and communication technologies, despite graduates in these subjects having the highest employment rate on average across OECD countries, exceeding 90% in about a third of them.
Data specific for the United Kingdom reveals that the highest proportion of wealth is spent on primary to tertiary educational institutions, above the average for OECD countries.
In contrast, teachers’ statutory salaries in England and Scotland fell in real terms between 2005 and 2015. Accounting for inflation over this period, salaries were worth 12% less in 2015 than in 2005 in England, and 6% less in Scotland across all levels of education. This compares to average real terms increases in teachers’ statutory salaries across OECD countries of 10% at pre-primary level, 6% at lower secondary level and 4% at upper secondary level.
Early childhood education relies more heavily on private funding in the UK than in most OECD countries. Less than half of the expenditure on pre-primary education came from public sources in 2015 (47%), the second lowest proportion across OECD countries, and considerably less than the OECD average of 82%.
The UK version of the report is viewable here: