Research and analysis

Review of the Economic Benefits of Training and Qualifications: Research based on Cross-Sectional and Administrative Data

Assesses matching learner information with employment data to analyse returns to learning and qualifications. BIS research paper number 105.



Report that provides evidence on employment and earnings benefits from vocational qualifications. This includes:

  • the wage and employment benefits which learners gain from different qualifications
  • the value of qualifications held in the working age population and how far returns might vary for different individuals and in different circumstances

The report reviewed recent research that took different approaches. These approaches:

  • used new matched data which matches learner information with their employment and earnings data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and their benefit claims from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)
  • applied different well-established techniques to recent labour force survey data

It concludes that the two approaches answer slightly different questions about the benefits of vocational training, and government should continue to use both.

The matched data, because of its large sample size, has great potential to become the main source of future work. However we need to understand some issues with the data before this can happen.

Published 15 February 2013