Dr Tom Karmel

Academic Status

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

place Humanities Building (397)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Karmel is currently an adjunct professor at NILS. He is also a member of the Council of the University of Canberra. He is a joint editor of the Australian Bulletin of Labour and is a member of the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Education. He is a former Senior Research Fellow for the UNESCO Chair at The Hong Kong Institute of Education. Professor Karmel was appointed as Managing Director, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) in August 2002, retiring from that position in August 2013. During his term, NCVER grew significantly in size and oversaw many innovations in statistics (including the calculation of qualification and apprenticeship completion rates, early trend estimates for apprentices and trainees and the development of institution level performance indicators) and led a very active research program. He was the author or co-author of over 80 papers published by NCVER.

Prior to this position, he held senior appointments in the Australian government areas of education, employment, labour market research and the Bureau of Statistics. From 1995 to 2002 he was responsible for a wide range of functions relating to the higher education programme, including Ministerial briefing, budget coordination, legislation, educational developments, cross-sectoral matters, international matters, quality assurance, the higher education statistics collection, research and analysis (into higher education policy issues), the graduate destination survey, workplace relations issues within the higher education sector, equity and access issues, and labour market issues as they relate to the higher education sector. His research interests have centred on the labour market and the economics of education focussing on empirical modelling.

In 2017 Professor Karmel was made a member (AM) of the General Division of the Order of Australia for “significant service to vocational education research and administration, and to the community through public administration roles”.


PhD in Economics, The Australian National University, 1995

Master of Economics, The Australian National University, 1983

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Mathematical Statistics, Flinders University, 1973

Honours, awards and grants

Commonwealth scholarship, 1969-1970

Simpson–Pope prize for economics, Flinders University, 1969

Cadetship with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1971-72

Australian Public Service study award, 1982-83

Australian Public Service study award, 1992

Australian Postgraduate Award, 1993-95

Member of the Order of Australia, 2017

Research interests

Labour Market and the economics of education

Performance indicators especially in relationship to higher education and vocational education and training.


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