Chapter 4: Research degree completions

Research degree completions by ethnicity

4.29Table 4.7 below presents ethnicity counts for RDCs. To provide a maximum of meaningful data on change here, this table combines figures from the years of two RDC funding periods (both the 2011 final and the 2012 indicative allocations) to cover 2007–2010.

Table 4.7: Research degree completions by ethnicity, 2007–2010

Ethnicity 2007 Pro-
portion of total 2007
Change 2007 → 2008 2008 Pro-
portion of total 2008
Change 2008 → 2009 2009 Pro-
portion of total 2009
Change 2009 → 2010 2010 Pro-
portion of total 2010
European 1,542 60.14% 9.14% 1,683 60.89% 5.64% 1,778 60.35% 3.04% 1,832 58.18%
Asian 469 18.29% 16.20% 545 19.72% 13.39% 618 20.98% 19.26% 737 23.40%
Other 149 5.81% 51.01% 225 8.14% -2.22% 220 7.47% -9.09% 200 6.35%
Māori 122 4.76% 9.84% 134 4.85% -3.73% 129 4.38% 18.60% 153 4.86%
Not stated 70 2.73% 18.57% 83 3.00% 14.46% 95 3.22% -17.89% 78 2.48%
Pasifika peoples 51 1.99% 49.02% 76 2.75% 5.26% 80 2.72% 22.50% 98 3.11%
MELAA* 161 6.28% -88.82% 18 0.65% 44.44% 26 0.88% 96.15% 51 1.62%
Total 2,564 100.00% 7.80% 2,764 100.00% 6.58% 2,946 100.00% 6.89% 3,149 100.00%

*MELAA refers to Middle Eastern/Latin American/African

4.30Year-on-year, the counts of RDCs have continued to rise at a similar rate with an increase of 200 between 2007 and 2008, 182 between 2008 and 2009 and 203 between 2009 and 2010.

4.31Over the four-year period four of the ethnic categories (Asian, Māori, Pasifika peoples, and Other) increased as a proportion of the total RDCs. Across the ethnic categories with the smallest baselines (MELAA, Pasifika peoples, Not stated, and Other) there was significant year-on-year percentage point shifts but these had a lower relative impact on the total pool. For example, MELAA decreased by -88.82 percent between 2007 and 2008, increased by 44.44 percent between 2008 and 2009, and increased again by 96.15 percent between 2009 and 2010. By 2010 the MELAA ethnic category accounted for just 1.62 percent of the total pool compared with 6.28 percent in 2007 – a decrease of 4.66 percent.

4.32The total proportion of European RDCs has remained steady over the period, with slight fluctuations between years starting at 60.14 percent in 2007, reaching a peak of 60.89 percent in 2008 and dropping slightly by 2010 to account for 58.18 percent of the total pool. During this same period the Asian ethnic category experienced a steady increase, ranging from 18.29 percent in 2007 to 23.40 percent by 2010 with the strongest growth (19.26 percentage points) occurring between 2009 and 2010.

4.33Over the four year period the proportion of RDCs for Māori has remained steady with minor fluctuations between years, the most notable of these were the 18.60 percentage point increase between 2009 and 2010 and the -3.73 percent decrease between 2008 and 2009. Overall Māori accounted for 4.86 percent of the total pool in 2010 compared with 4.76 percent in 2007 making an increase of just 0.10 percent. This result is again disappointing given equity weighting applied to this group.

4.34Pasifika students have continued to make steady gains with year-on-year percentage point increases of 49.02 percent, 5.26 percent, and 22.50 percent between 2007 and 2008, 2008 and 2009, and 2009 and 2010 respectively. The number of RDCs completed by Pasifika peoples in 2010 accounted for 3.11 of the total pool compared with 1.99 percent in 2007.

4.35Further factors to consider in the analysis of ethnicity data include the fact that students may change their reported ethnicity or ethnicities over the course of their study which can exceed six years in duration.

Figure 4.1: Research degree completions by ethnicity, 2007–2010

Figure 4.1: Research degree completions by ethnicity, 2007-2010.