File photo: Reuters

Cape Town -

You are more likely to find a job and earn a better salary if you finish matric rather than drop out in Grade 11, according to a study by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit at UCT.

The researchers looked at 17 years of data from national household surveys from 1994 to 2010. They then compared the wage and employment information of birth cohorts - starting with people born in 1944 - to estimate changes in wage and employment returns on education. They found that more pupils were matriculating.

“While only 13 percent of those born between 1944 and 1946 hold a matric as their highest qualification, 23.3 percent of the 1965 to 1967 cohort do so, compared with an impressive 34.6 percent of the group born between 1983 and 1985,” said the survey report.

The study also found that people in the younger cohorts earned less on average than their older counterparts.

Having a matric certificate counted in favour of the holder, whether they were born in the 1960s or the 1980s.

“The reason we say the matric certificate has value is because in comparison with peers who have less than a matric, you are more likely to find a job and you are going to earn more,” said Clare Hofmeyr, a research fellow at the unit.

The study showed that across the cohorts, matriculants earned as much as 50 percent more than those without matric.

They were also at least 10 percent more likely to be employed.

Hofmeyr said that while the study looked at schooling and matric, those who went on to higher education could expect substantial and positive returns.

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Cape Argus