Destinations of School Leavers

Last Updated: 
Update Frequency: 
Census every 5 years

Indicator Rationale

When teenagers leave school, they take one of their first critical steps into the wider world of adult life. The choices they make can have a long-term influence on their future career paths. A school leaver's range of options can include work, university or vocational training and many combinations of work and education.

In 2006, 302,100 students across Australia left school and moved on to take up one of these options. Of these students, 32% left school early, before having completed Year 12 (ABS Survey of Education and Work 2006 – Table 20).

Data Source

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census, data available on request.


Four measures have been derived giving information on the work and study activities of all people aged 15-19 years who are not attending secondary school. The data include both recent school leavers and those who left earlier (e.g. a 19-year-old who left school at 15 years), and are based on place of usual residence.

All measures are expressed as a percentage of people aged 15-19 years not attending secondary school. In the 2006 Census, information sufficient to determine their level of engagement in work and/or study was not obtained from 4.6% of Victorians aged 15-19 years not attending secondary school (varying between 0.9% and 13.7% in individual LGAs). These people were excluded from the population prior to the calculation of proportions.  In addition, some 15-19 year-olds did not provide a response as to whether or not they were attending an educational institution, and have also been excluded.

In terms of level of engagement in work and/or study, a school leaver can be categorised as fully engaged, partly engaged, or not engaged at all. The first two measures listed below provide data for two of these three categories, and the second two measures provide more detail of the work/study status of those fully engaged.

People Fully Engaged in Work or Study: Consists of people employed full-time (i.e. worked 35 hours or more in the week prior to the Census), people studying full-time, and those both employed part-time and studying part-time.

People Not Engaged At All in Work or Study: Consists of people who are unemployed or not in the labour force, and who are not attending an educational institution.

People Employed Full-Time: A subset of People Fully Engaged in Work or Study

People Studying Full-Time at a Non-School Institution: A subset of People Fully Engaged in Work or Study

Census Questions

The data have been derived from the following census variables: Labour Force Status; Full/Part-Time Student Status; and Type of Educational Institution Attending.

These variables were derived from responses to a number of questions on the 2006 Census form:

Question 24: Is the person attending a school or any other educational institution?
Question 25: What type of educational institution is the person attending?
Question 34: Last week, did the person have a full-time or part-time job of any kind?
Question 35: In the main job held last week, was the person working for an employer or working in own business?
Question 38: In the main job held last week, what was the person's occupation?
Question 39: What are the main tasks that the person usually performs in the occupation reported at Question 38?
Question 44: Last week, how many hours did the person work in all jobs?
Question 46: Did the person actively look for work at any time in the last four weeks?
Question 47: If the person had found a job, could the person have started work last week?

The census form instructed respondents that a job was any type of work, including casual, temporary or part-time work, if it was for one hour or more.


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Education and Work, Australia.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census of Population and Housing - Reference and Information.