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Education Indicators in Focus

Education Indicators in Focus is a recurring series of briefs that highlight specific indicators in OECD’s Education at a Glance that are of particular interest to policy makers and practitioners. They provide a detailed look into current issues in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, higher education, and adult outcomes from a global perspective, and contain an engaging mix of text, tables and charts that describe the international context of the most pressing questions in education policy and practice.

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Fields of education, gender and the labour market

More and more adults are earning a tertiary qualification, but not all tertiary degrees have the same value on the labour market. In general, postgraduate degrees such as master’s and doctoral degrees are associated with higher employment rates and earnings than bachelor’s degrees. Labour market outcomes also vary by field of education. Some fields of education differ markedly in their gender composition, reflecting the sex-typing of occupations and gender stereotypes. Graduates’ field of education is closely related with their occupational choices; therefore a better understanding of gender disparities in this area can help to identify some of the mechanisms that lie behind gender differences in the labour market and beyond.

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