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Learning to adapt: does returning to education improve labour market outcomes?

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The transition into a post-industrial economy changed the nature of the Australian labour market extinguishing jobs in traditional industries and creating jobs in new industries. Workers displaced from the manufacturing sector and women seeking to re-enter the labour market after taking time out for family reasons need to retrain in order to secure full-time employment in new industries. Consequently, returning to education is a relatively common occurrence in Australia as adults adapt to the changing demands of the labour market. Using the first 12 waves of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia data, this paper examines the characteristics of those who return to education and gain new educational qualifications. The effect of upgrading educational qualifications on employment outcomes is also examined. The results show that those with higher levels of education were more likely than those with low levels of education to complete new qualifications after the age of 25 and that employment outcomes vary according to level of qualification completed.
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Keywords: HILDA; adult education; employment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ESTeM Faculty, University of Canberra, Australia

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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