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Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 05:17 GMT 06:17 UK
Education 'big boost to earnings'
Queens University Belfast
'Women graduates earn 46% more than with A levels'
A report on the earnings of people in Northern Ireland has said that even one year's extra education can boost incomes.

The survey for the Department of Further and Higher Education also suggested that added qualifications make a bigger difference to workers in Northern Ireland than they do in the rest of the UK.

The report on the survey findings, Education and Earnings in Northern Ireland, aimed to provide an analysis on how additional education resulted in higher salaries.

The survey results suggest that an extra year's education at any level can add 8% to male earnings and 12% to females in Northern Ireland.

In the rest of the UK, an extra year in education added 6% more for men and 10% more for women.

'NI salaries still lower'

However, the research suggested that Northern Ireland people who gain degrees suffer by staying in the province because the salaries offered to graduates are lower than those in the rest of the UK.

The report said that all students receive major benefits from achieving more GCSEs and A levels.

Men were believed to earn an extra 33% a year if they had GCSEs, than those with no qualifications. Women could earn 28% more.

The report also said that women who gain a degree can earn 46% more than women who stop their education after achieving A levels.

'Need to boost education provision'

Both men and women who have attained A Levels can earn approximately 16% more a year than if they had gained solely GCSEs, the survey suggested.

However, the report said that overall, throughout all categories of educational achievement, women still earn significantly less than men.

Despite a large recent increase in the pool of graduates in Northern Ireland, the report said there has been no reduction in demand for them by employers or the increased rates that they can earn.

The research was carried out by Dr Colm Harmon from University College Dublin and the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, and Professor Ian Walker from the University of Warwick and Fiscal Studies in London.

They said that the trends revealed underlined the need to expand further and higher education in Northern Ireland to benefit the economy.

"This research underlines the importance of strong further and higher sectors and confirms the rationale for the policy of expanding higher and further education provision to meet the needs of the economy," they said.

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See also:

11 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
NI near bottom of competiveness league
01 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Knowledge-economy causing 'underclass'
29 Nov 99 | Education
Going to university pays off
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