This article explores the total (measured and unmeasured) impact of education on some of the main socio-economic outcomes (that is, employment opportunities, job security and wages) among school-leavers who finished upper secondary or tertiary education in the netherlands. The empirical analysis shows that the effects of education are typically underestimated in labour market research. Education has a large impact on all outcomes under investigation. Apart from level of education, the selectivity of the study programme turns out to affect socio-economic outcomes, although the effects of the latter educational characteristic are only significant in the private sector. Differences between schools do not have an impact on wages and job security, but they do to some extent affect employment opportunities.