Full-time jobs for 71.8% of undergraduates four months after finishing uni

Employment and salary outcomes for higher education graduates in Australia have improved, a new report shows.

The Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS), which was published on Friday, forms part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) survey suite and was produced for the Department of Education and Training.

The latest data on the survey has been refreshed on the QILT website. Prospective students can view the findings at qilt.edu.au/graduate-employment.

QILT Research Manager Lisa Bolton said: “This year’s Graduate Outcomes Survey again shows encouraging outcomes across the board for Australia’s Higher Education graduates.” 

The report showed in 2017, 71.8 per cent of undergraduates were in full-time employment four months after completing their degree, up from 70.9 per cent in 2016.

“The GOS report highlights the steady improvement in the full-time employment rate of graduates in recent years from the low point of 68.1% in 2014,” Ms Bolton said. “The GOS report’s findings are consistent with a modest improvement in the overall labour market over the period.”

Salary outcomes also showed healthy increases – across both undergraduate and postgraduate streams.

The median annual salary of undergraduates employed full-time in 2017 was $60,000, an increase of $2,100 compared to graduates from the previous year.

“The GOS report shows that as in previous years, undergraduates reported confidence that their qualification had prepared them for employment,” Ms Bolton said. “We found that 77 per cent of undergraduates who are employed full-time said that their qualification had prepared them either ‘well’ or ‘very well’.”

The report presents mixed findings on gender disparity in salaries.

Female undergraduates continue to earn less than male undergraduates. In 2017, females  were earning $59,000, while males received on average $60,100, a difference of $1,100. However, in the 2016 survey, the gender pay gap was $3,600.

“As the GOS report shows, the encouraging news is that this is the lowest recorded gender gap in undergraduate salaries reported in 40 years of data,” Ms Bolton said.

“According to the GOS report, the gender gap in graduate salaries is partly explained by the fact that females are more likely to graduate from fields of education that receive lower levels of remuneration.”

“However, as the GOS report shows, female graduates still earn less than their male counterparts within fields of education or study areas both immediately upon graduation and three years following graduation.”