Nearly 60 per cent of Australians now have a non-school qualification such as a degree or certificate, a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows. 

ABS Director of the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics, Andrew Webster, said that since 2001 the number of people with non-school qualifications such as degrees or certificates has increased by 12 percentage points.

"The survey showed that the proportion of people with a Bachelor degree or above increased to 25 per cent in 2012, up from 17 per cent in 2001," Mr Webster said.

"Postgraduate degrees have seen the largest increase, with the numbers almost tripling from 280,000 in 2001 to more than 750,000 in 2012.

“We found that slightly more men than women had a non-school qualification in 2012, with 4.4 million men compared to 4.3 million women. 

"Certificate III or IV was more popular with men, with 22 per cent of all men having one of these qualifications compared to 13 per cent of women. 

“However, women edged out men when it came to Bachelor degrees and higher qualifications, with 27 per cent of women compared to 24 per cent of men. 

“The most common field of education reported for all people was management and commerce, at 24 per cent, followed by engineering and related technologies at 16 per cent.

“Around 2.8 million Australians or around 19 per cent were enrolled in study for a qualification in 2012, with two-thirds of students studying full time. 

“Forty-one per cent of students were aged between 15 and 19 years, and more students were women than men, with 53 per cent compared to 47 per cent. 


“Of those enrolled, 43 per cent were studying for a Bachelor degree and the most common field of study was management and commerce. 

"Women outnumber men more than two to one in the fields of society and culture (271,300 women to 121,900 men) and health (176,200 to 73,300), but men lead in apprenticeships. Out of the 220,000 apprentices or trainees, the majority, 77 per cent, were men. 

“The highest number of apprentices and trainees, nearly 70,000 of them, worked in the construction industry.”

Further information is provided in the latest 2012 issue of Education and Work, Australia, May 2012 (cat. no. 6227.0), available for free download from the ABS website