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The Myth of Parity of Esteem: Earnings and Qualifications

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  • Peter Robinson
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    Abstract

    There is no parity of esteem between academic and vocational qualifications in the labour market. Data from the Labour Force Survey show that on average men and women working full-time with academic qualifications at one level in the national qualifications framework earn about the same as men and women with vocational qualifications set notionally one level higher. So those with A levels have earnings similar to those with higher or level 4 vocational qualifications, those with 5 or more O levels or higher grade GCSEs have earnings similar to those with level 3 vocational qualifications, and those with 1-4 O levels or higher grade GCSEs have earnings similar to those with level 2 vocational qualifications. These higher earnings occur firstly because academic qualifications at a given level are more successful in buying access to more highly paid occupations. Secondly, within the most highly paid managerial, professional and technical occupations, academic qualifications are associated with higher earnings. These findings raise significant issues for public policy, calling into question the way in which the UK's National Targets for Education and Training have been formulated and much work on international comparisons of educational attainment.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0354.

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    Date of creation: Jul 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0354

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    Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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    Cited by:
    1. Gavan Conlon, 2002. "The Determinants of Undertaking Academic and Vocational Qualifications in the UK," CEE Discussion Papers 0020, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    2. Dearden, Lorraine, et al, 2002. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 249-74, July.
    3. Gavan Conlon, 2001. "The incidence and outcomes associated with the late attainment of qualifications in the United Kingdom," CEE Discussion Papers 0013, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    4. Pablo Burriel-Llombart & Jonathan Thomas, 2001. "Skill imbalances in the UK labour market: 1979-99," Bank of England working papers 145, Bank of England.
    5. Phil Evans, 1998. "Why has the female unemployment rate fallen so much in Britain?," Bank of England working papers 87, Bank of England.
    6. Peter Davies & Nick Adnett, . "QUASI-MARKET REFORMS AND VOCATIONAL SCHOOLING IN ENGLAND AND WALES: an economic analysis," Working Papers 98-11, Staffordshire University, Business School.
    7. Erich Battistin & Barbara Sianesi, 2006. "Misreported schooling and returns to education: evidence from the UK," CeMMAP working papers CWP07/06, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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