A university education continues to provide significant advantages in today’s job market with nine in ten university graduates in a full-time job within three years of graduation, the latest official data confirms.
The strong jobs picture holds nationally for graduates across the university system encompassing professional and generalist degrees.
The 2020 Graduate Outcomes Survey – Longitudinal shows more than 90 per cent of students who graduated in 2017 were in full time jobs by 2020.
Almost four out of five people with undergraduate qualifications are working in managerial and professional occupations three years after graduation.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said: “A university degree is a strong foundation for a career, which is more likely than ever before to see graduates moving between different jobs. We’ve always known that, and taught people accordingly.
“Australian graduates are remarkably successful competitors in the job market. The Government conducts regular surveys to assess both the employability and earning power of graduates. Within four months of completing their undergraduate degrees, around 73 per cent of all graduates are in full-time work. This proportion increases to 90 per cent after three years.”
“It is interesting to note that in 2020, the overall employment rate for humanities, culture and social sciences was 87 per cent three years after completing their degree, the same rate for science and mathematics graduates,” Ms Jackson said.
The survey highlighted that: ‘…while undergraduates in some fields of education, in particular, those with generalist degrees have weaker employment outcomes soon after completing their course, the gap in employment across fields of education tends to narrow over time.‘
Overall, graduates started their working careers on a median salary of $60,000 a year – rising to $75,000 a year within three years of graduating.
The results were even stronger for people who did a postgraduate coursework degree – with 86 per cent in full time jobs four months after graduating and 94 per cent within three years.
Ms Jackson said for every extra level of education attained beyond high school, people’s earnings rose on average and their chances of being jobless fell.
“The era when most sign up for one job for life is over. An Australian student in school today is likely to change employers 17 times and have five different careers over the course of their working life.”
“University study prepares you for a career, not just for a single job.”
“If you have a university degree, you are also two and a half times less likely to be jobless than if you had no education beyond school,” she said.
The survey of more than 40,000 graduates also confirmed that more than three-quarters of graduates were working as managers or professionals.