Employment Rates for Higher Education Graduates in Australia Improve, National Survey Shows

The full-time employment rates among graduates of higher education institutions in Australia have increased slightly from 68.7 percent to 68.9 percent this year, according to the latest national survey on graduate outcomes which has been completed by graduates four to six months after finishing their studies.

The 2021 Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) also revealed that the overall rate for both full-time and part-time employment for recent graduates did not experience a significant change, with 84.8 percent getting hired, compared to 85.1 percent last year, Erudera.com reports.

“Short-term graduate employment rates have stabilised, and median salaries are on the rise despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a media release issued by Universities Australia reads, mentioning the report.

According to Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson, survey findings have demonstrated the benefit of a graduate qualification. She emphasized that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to be present, a degree offers students an advantage in the competitive job market.

“The survey also shows signs of a recovery in the graduate job market. As vaccination rates improve, and reach beyond 80 per cent in some places, and more states begin to open up, it is highly likely the premium for graduates will grow further,” Jackson said.

She added that within three years of completing their studies, nearly nine in 10 graduates get hired in full-time jobs, also pointing out that data show that while the prospects for graduates after completing studies are strong, they even get to improve with time.

According to the report, the median full-time undergraduate salary level slightly jumped from $64,700 in 2020 to $65,000 this year, with women undergraduates again earning less money in 2021, compared to men undergraduates, $64,200 and $66,800 respectively, a difference of $2,600.

“The survey shows a widening gender pay gap of 3.9 per cent, increasing from 2.5 per cent in 2020. This remains an inequity which must be addressed,” Jackson stressed.

The report further points out that this year, the median salary of undergraduates employed full-time was $65,000 over the year. Differently, for postgraduate coursework graduates, the amount was $89,700, while for postgraduate research graduates, it reached $95,000.

“The median undergraduate salary increased by $300 or 0.5 per cent in 2021, while the postgraduate coursework graduate median salary increased by $2,300 or 2.6 per cent and the postgraduate research graduate median salary increased by $2,000 or 2.1 per cent,” the report notes.

The survey was completed by a total of 127,827 graduates, while the report mainly focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market, gender pay gap, gender differences, and more.

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