Foreign graduates work less, but paid the same

21/11/2006 14:00

One year after leaving college or university, graduates from higher education with a foreign background earned just as much as their native Dutch peers. Moroccan, Turkish and Surinamese graduates from vocational college even earned more than native Dutch graduates, even when differences in age and study discipline are taken into account.

Fewer foreign graduates work

In the course of education, students with a foreign background are more likely than native Dutch students to drop out at each important transition. Foreign graduates from higher education are also less likely to find employment. The share of employed among people with a foreign background who graduated from vocational college or university in 2001–2003 was lower than among native Dutch graduates. The percentage of college graduates with a job one year after graduation was lowest for graduates with an Antillean/Aruban or an ‘other non-western’ background. Seven out of ten had a job, compared with just over eight of ten for native Dutch college graduates. Even when the differences in age and study discipline are taken into account, labour participation of foreign groups was lower than that for the Dutch graduates.

Percentage of graduates from higher education with a job one year after graduation, 2001/2003

High wages for Moroccan, Turkish and Surinamese graduates

Although graduates with a foreign background are less likely to have a job, those who do are paid just as much as or more than native Dutch graduates. Exceptions were college graduates with a western and ‘other non-western' foreign background.

Wages of vocational college graduates one year after graduation

Wages of university graduates one year after graduation

Differences in ages and discipline

Three explanations can be given for the higher wages of foreign graduates. First they are on average older than native Dutch graduates, and older graduates generally earn more. Secondly, non-western graduates often choose studies that result in well-paid jobs, such as economics and law disciplines. And thirdly, Moroccan, Turkish and Surinamese graduates work more hours a week on average.

Small wage differences for university graduates

When the effects of age and discipline are removed, the wage differences for university graduates all but disappear. Antillean/Aruban graduates even earn less.
For college graduates this was not the case. Moroccan, Turkish and Surinamese college graduates still earned more than Dutch graduates after correction for age, discipline and weekly working hours. Only the foreign graduates with an other non-western background earned less than native Dutch college graduates.

Luc Verschuren and Marjolijn Das