Irish women with degrees earn 90% more than those without a third-level qualification, according to the latest Education at a Glance report recently published by the the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
For men in Ireland the earnings premium linked to a third level education is 69% when compared to the earnings of men who have not obtained a third-level qualification. Notably, the earnings advantage for individuals in Ireland with degrees is significantly higher than the OECD average of 62%.
The study, which analysed the education systems of the 34 OECD member states and several partner countries, also found that 100% of 5 to 14 year-olds in Ireland were enrolled in education in 2012. 93% of this group were expected to complete secondary school, compared to an average rate of 84% across the OECD.
The 2014 report found that graduation rates in Ireland vary according to gender, with an upper-secondary graduation rate in 2012 of 95% for women compared with 92% for men, and a university graduation rate of 52% for women, and 39% for men.
While Ireland ranked third-highest for educational expenditure per student, below Canada and the United States, public expenditure on educational institutions represented 6.2% of Ireland’s GDP in 2011. This is slightly above the OECD average of 5.6%. This figure placed Ireland below other members, such as the Scandinavian countries where public expenditure on education was between 6.8% and 8.8% of GDP in 2011.
In the Country Note for Ireland, the report found that teachers in Ireland are “well paid” by OECD and EU21 standards. In response to these statistics, Niall Murray, Education Correspondent for the Irish Examiner, commented, “Irish teachers are among the best paid but work longer hours and with some of the biggest classes in the developed world in return.”
While Ireland ranked highly in some areas, the report also highlighted the underperformance of the Irish education system in other areas.
According to the report, unemployment rates in Ireland remain high in comparison to other member countries. The study found that the proportion of young people in Ireland who are neither employed nor in education or training (NEET) is “well above average for EU21 and OECD countries.”
As recently outlined by Tom Healy, director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute, in his article “Youth Labour Market Still in Recession” Eurostat data shows that the NEET rate in 2013 among Irish 18- to 24-year olds was 20.5%, placing Ireland 8th in the EU for this measure.