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University graduates earn 30% more than Latvian average, says study

The annual income of tertiary education graduates is 30% higher than the national average, according to the latest graduate monitoring data of the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM), Latvian Television said April 7.

An analysis of the data on graduates who completed their studies in 2017 and 2018 concludes that their income is by a third higher than the national average.

“Whatever field you choose, it is guaranteed to mean decent pay. Yes, there are areas close to or slightly below the average in the country, but in general this means wages above average in the country,” said Rihards Blese, education expert at the Latvian Employers' Confederation (LDDK).

A third of young people enter the labor market with secondary education, incomplete secondary education or primary education. Monitoring the employment of university graduates is one of the evidence demonstrating the importance of studying.

“School graduates have not quite a real idea of the prospects for a certain area of study. And with the data, one task is to  correct the perception about the labor market,” said Diana Laipniece, deputy director of the IZM Department for Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

The largest revenue is generated by graduates working in the agricultural sector, whose high income is explained by the receipt of area payments. The next best performers are graduates from science, mathematics, social sciences, commerce and engineering.

Humanities and arts graduates have both a lower average pay and a lower percentage of employment.“We will have to discuss with the universities of the Ministry of Culture whether the content of the studies should be reviewed so that people are better prepared for the labor market,” Laipniece of IZM said.

Most graduates complete programs in social sciences and law. The Ministry invariably forecasts the overproduction of these specialists in the future and thinks about how to make exact sciences more popular among pupils.

The results of the graduates monitoring data were published in Latvia for the first time last year. It is planned to continue to monitor each year's graduate group over a 10-year period.

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