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Post-school qualification field of study

Census information about post-school qualification and post-school field of study is based on questions 27 and 28 on the individual form. It relates to qualifications gained outside secondary school.

This section looks at the most common fields of study, and the differences in field of study by sex and ethnic group.

More people have a post-school qualification

The proportion of people with a post-school qualification increased between 2001 and 2013:

  • 2001 – 37.3 percent (897,825 people)
  • 2006 – 42.1 percent (1,170,759 people)
  • 2013 – 46.3 percent (1,366,677 people).

Men and women with same level of qualification likely to have studied in different fields

In 2013, men and women who attained the same post-school qualification level tended to have studied in different fields.

For example, for the level 5 and 6 diploma category:

  • 31.6 percent of men with this qualification studied engineering and related technologies, compared with 2.0 percent of women
  • 25.7 percent of women compared with 3.5 percent of men studied health
  • 18.6 percent of women compared with 5.1 percent of men studied education.

Management and commerce is most common field of study

For the 1,291,047 people with a post-school qualification who gave their field of study (excluding the ‘field not given’ category), the most common fields in 2013 were:

  • management and commerce – at 18.1 percent (233,457 people), this was up slightly from 18.0 percent (204,243 people) in 2006
  • engineering and related technologies – at 17.4 percent, this was down from 18.7 percent in 2006.

Figure 13

Graph, Field of study, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses.

Men and women choose different fields of study

The most popular field of study for men was engineering and related technologies, at 31.8 percent (204,771 people). Education was the least popular, at 3.0 percent (19,551 people).

The most popular field of study for women was management and commerce, at 21.0. percent (135,870 people). Architecture and building was the least popular, at 1.4 percent (8,934 people).

Table 1
Top five fields of study for men and women(1), 2013 Census 

Men Percent  Women  Percent 
Engineering and related technologies 

31.8 

Management and commerce 

21.0 

Management and commerce 

15.2 

Health 

18.8 

Architecture and building 

12.5 

Society and culture 

18.7 

Society and culture 

10.6 

Education 

14.5 

Natural and physical sciences 

5.4 

Creative arts 

7.0 

1. Of people who gave their field of study. This excludes the ‘field not given’ category.
Source: Statistics New Zealand  

Different ethnic groups study different fields

The 2013 Census shows that fields of study also varied between ethnic groups. So for people who gave their field of study:

  • For the European ethnic group, engineering and related technologies was the most common field of study, with 18.1 percent (181,446 people) studying this.
  • For Māori, society and culture was the most common, at 18.3 percent (20,406 people).
  • For Pacific peoples, management and commerce was the most common, at 23.9 percent (10,032 people).
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