Polish Graduate tracking system - articles

Who earns more after graduation: graduates of public or private schools?

Woman working on the computer. There is a coffee cup and glasses on the table.

The 2014 graduates of non-public universities earned PLN 2,982 on average, i.e. over PLN 160 more than graduates of public universities, who achieved the average earnings of PLN 2,820. This is due to their previous experience in the labour market. If this element is factored in, a full-time degree from a public higher education institution provides the highest chances of getting the highest salary in the first year after graduation.

Analyses have shown that early entry into the labour market is the main factor responsible for higher salaries of graduates of non-public schools. Non-public universities are more likely to offer part-time programmes, and part-time students are significantly more likely than full-time students to take up employment while still studying. Many of them decide to do a degree after being in the labour market for years. The average earnings of graduates who had been employed during a few months before graduation amounted to PLN 3,219. People who did not work before obtaining their Master’s degree earned 30% less after graduation, i.e. PLN 2,312 on average. When analysing earnings, researchers focused on income from employment contracts.

Moreover, taking into account previous labour market experience, higher salaries tend to be earned by individuals who completed a full-time degree programme at a public university. The average "bonus" for completing a full-time programme is PLN 206, while graduation from a public university increases the earnings by an average of PLN 220.

The survey focused only on the first year after graduation. In subsequent years, as the ELA system develops, it will be possible to examine longer-term implications of graduation from different types of programmes. The analysis uses data from the first edition of the ELA, i.e. the population of graduates who obtained their Master's degree in 2014.

Earnings are among the most fundamental indicators of labour market success. One of the objectives of the National System of Monitoring the Economic Trajectories of Graduates of Higher Education Institutions (ELA) is to identify the degrees which ensure the highest earnings.

The upcoming issue of the Polish Sociological Review will feature an article[1] where Tomasz Zając, Mikołaj Jasiński and Marek Bożykowski, scholars from the University of Warsaw and the National Information Processing Institute, who are co-authors of the ELA system, analyse the situation of graduates on the labour market in Poland, including the differences between salaries earned by graduates of different types of universities and types of study programmes.

[1]: Zając T., Jasiński M., Bożykowski M. (2018). Early Careers of Tertiary Graduates in Poland: Employability, Earnings, and Differences between Public and Private Higher Education, “Polish Sociological Review” 2(202).