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An investment in productivity and inclusion: the economic and social benefits of the TAFE system

Skilled workforce TAFE Vocational education and training Australia

This research shows the TAFE system supports $92.5 billion in annual economic benefits through the direct operation of TAFE institutes, higher incomes and productivity generated by the TAFE-credentialed workforce, and reduced social benefits costs.

The report adopts a multidimensional approach to measuring the wide economic and social benefits of the TAFE system resulting from Australia’s historic investments in public vocational education. Over $6 billion in economic activity and 48,000 jobs are supported by the direct operation of TAFE institutes and the TAFE supply-chain. Through its accumulated contribution to the employability and skills of Australians, the TAFE system generates another flow of benefits worth $84.9 billion per year in higher incomes and productivity. Those benefits are shared by workers in higher incomes, firms in higher profits, and federal and state governments – which receive $25 billion per year in extra tax revenues. Finally, another $1.5 billion in fiscal savings are enjoyed by governments through reduced costs for health and welfare benefits for TAFE graduates. Altogether, the TAFE system drives $92.5 billion in benefits per year – equal to almost 5% of Australia’s GDP.

The report finds despite chronic underfunding, Australia’s historic investment in the TAFE system continues to generate an enormous and ongoing dividend to the Australian economy. Increased public investment in the skills and earning capabilities of Australians will be critical to our post-pandemic recovery.


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