Trade school graduates overtake college goers in the salary stakes

Students at an MBO trade school can earn up to one and a half times more than college educated graduates, with a tight labour market boosting wages, the Telegraaf reports.

The paper based the figure on the MBO study guide which describes some 10,000 vocational studies and the job opportunities and salary figures they offer.

Tech MBO students are most likely to overtake HBO students in the salary stakes, earning an average net hourly wage of €20.90 18 months after finding a job. HBO students’ earn a starting salary of €16 an hour.

The higher wages are mainly driven by staff shortages, the paper said. Logistics and care are the among the other better-paid sectors for vocational students.

‘This really is a kind of emancipation for the MBO sector,’ labour market professor Ton Wilthagen told the paper.

‘The idea always was that the higher the level of education, the higher the wages but the market is now looking at MBO students with different eyes,’ he said. ‘That is down to a lack of staff in a number of crucial sectors, such as construction and tech. It also fits in with education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf’s ambition to develop a broad spectrum of training levels.’

The fact that wages are good – although not for all MBO students – is something that should be brought toot he attention of parents, Wilthagen said, because their opinion is a determining factor in the career choice of their children.

Children in the Netherlands are largely streamed at the age of 12 into VMBO (pre-trade school), Havo (pre-college) and WVO (pre-university).

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation