Information about data used in the Compare Study Options tool

Defining young, domestic graduates

All results are for young, domestic graduates. By 'young' we mean graduates who, on 1 July in the year they completed their qualification, were:

  • 24 years or under for certificates, diplomas, Bachelor's degrees, graduate certificates or diplomas and postgraduate study
  • 29 years or under for Master's degrees and Doctorate students.

The results only include domestic students: students who are New Zealand citizens, New Zealand permanent residents, or Australian citizens, and who are not residing overseas.

Graduates are only included in the results in those years where they spent at least nine months in New Zealand

How is 'status' defined?

Graduates often do more than one thing each year so each graduate can be assigned multiple destinations for each year after study.

The following rules were used to determine a graduate's activity for a year:

  • Further study – the graduate did some further tertiary study that year.
  • Benefit – the graduate was on a jobseeker support benefit for at least nine months in the year.
  • Employment – the graduate received wages or self-employment income, which total to above 50% of the minimum wage over the year.
  • Other – the graduate didn't meet any of the above criteria.


Outcomes are measured in 2017-2020 calendar years for further tertiary study, and in the 2018-2021 tax years (i.e. 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021) for employment and benefit. Outcomes are measured over a 12 month period.

  • Results shown one year after completing study are for graduates who finished studying in 2016-2019.
  • Results shown two years after completing study are for graduates who finished studying in 2015-2018.
  • Results shown five years after completing study are for graduates who finished studying in 2012-2015.

Definition of 'field of study'

To define the field of study we looked at which courses graduates took in their study to determine what best constituted their main field(s) of study or specialisation(s).

Fields of study are presented as both broad categories (for example 'natural and physical sciences') and narrow categories (for example, 'mathematical sciences', 'physics and astronomy', 'chemical sciences', 'earth sciences' and 'biological sciences').

Terms and conditions of data use

The results that this website provides are not official statistics. They have been created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) which is carefully managed by Stats NZ. For more information about the IDI please visit https://www.stats.govt.nz/integrated-data/.

The opinions, findings, recommendations and conclusions expressed both on this website and in the accompanying report are those of the authors not Statistics New Zealand.

Access to the data used in this study was provided by Stats NZ under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. The results presented in this study are the work of the author, not Stats NZ or individual data suppliers.

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Stats NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994 for statistical purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data’s ability to support Inland Revenue’s core operational requirements.

Updated 2 Feb 2022