Employer Satisfaction

Information on the QILT website about employer satisfaction is sourced from the Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS).

The ESS is the first national survey that directly links the experiences of graduates to the views of their direct supervisors. The ESS is undertaken on a systematic basis by asking employed graduates who participated in the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) four months after graduation to provide the contact details of their supervisor for follow up.

The survey provides information about the quality of education provided at Australian institutions, by asking supervisors to provide feedback about the generic skills, technical skills and work readiness of the graduate employed in their workplace.

In 2017 the supervisor response rate was 48.2 per cent with over 4,300 supervisor responses. The 2017 ESS results are large enough to provide robust comparisons by broad field of education, course characteristics, employment characteristics, occupation and demographic group. There are sufficient results from the 2016 and 2017 ESS combined to provide comparisons across universities.

Below is a summary of the survey outcomes, please refer to the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey Report for detailed ESS results.


Employer satisfaction with graduate attributes and overall satisfaction, 2017

Employer satisfaction with graduate attributes and overall satisfaction, 2017

With the overall satisfaction of graduates rated by direct supervisors at 83.6 per cent, the results above affirm the value of higher education qualifications for employment.


Employer overall satisfaction by broad field of education, 2017

Employer overall satisfaction by broad field of education, 2017

Results for overall employer satisfaction confirm findings from the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey that employers seem to prefer graduates with vocationally oriented degrees over those with generalist degrees since the former have higher employment outcomes immediately upon graduation.


Employer satisfaction with graduate attributes and overall satisfaction, by broad field of education, 2017

If the chart does not fit on your screen, a scroll bar will appear below it.
Foundation Adaptive Collaborative Technical Employability Overall satisfaction

Natural and Physical Sciences

94.6 (92.4, 96.8)

89.3 (86.3, 92.3)

88 (84.9, 91.1)

94.5 (92.3, 96.7)

85.7 (82.3, 89.1)

80.5 (76.8, 84.2)

Information Technology

95.1 (92.1, 98.1)

91.1 (87.1, 95.1)

90.4 (86.2, 94.6)

95.5 (92.5, 98.5)

85.7 (80.6, 90.8)

82.1 (76.9, 87.3)

Engineering and Related Technologies

95.6 (93.7, 97.5)

90.8 (88.1, 93.5)

88.7 (85.7, 91.7)

95.7 (93.8, 97.6)

85 (81.6, 88.4)

89.9 (87.1, 92.7)

Architecture and Building

91.4 (86.6, 96.2)

91.3 (86.5, 96.1)

88 (82.4, 93.6)

91.3 (86.5, 96.1)

81.5 (74.8, 88.2)

86.8 (81.0, 92.6)

Agriculture and Environmental Studies

94.2 (90.1, 98.3)

91.8 (86.9, 96.7)

88 (82.1, 93.9)

94 (89.7, 98.3)

85 (78.4, 91.6)

79.5 (72.2, 86.8)

Health

93.6 (92.3, 94.9)

88.8 (87.0, 90.6)

86.3 (84.4, 88.2)

94.6 (93.3, 95.9)

84.3 (82.2, 86.4)

88.6 (86.9, 90.3)

Education

92.4 (90.7, 94.1)

89.2 (87.2, 91.2)

82.4 (79.9, 84.9)

92.1 (90.3, 93.9)

84.5 (82.1, 86.9)

84.6 (82.3, 86.9)

Management and Commerce

91.8
(89.9-93.7)

87.2
(84.9-89.5)

82.6
(79.9-85.3)

90.0
(87.9-92.1)

85.0
(82.5-87.5)

80.2
(77.4-83.0)

Society and Culture

91.5

(89.5-93.5)

88.5
(86.2-90.8)

85.8
(83.3-88.3)

92.9
(91.1-94.7)

84.3
(81.7-86.9)

83.1
(80.5-85.7)

Creative Arts

91.7
(87.6-95.8)

89.0
(84.3-93.7)

87.6
(82.7-92.5)

89.6
(84.9-94.3)

84.5
(78.8-90.2)

78.2
(72.1-84.3)

Total

93.4
(92.8, 94.0)

90.1 (89.3, 90.9)

85.9 (85.0, 86.8)

93.3 (92.6, 94.0)

85.0 (84.1, 85.9)

83.6 (82.7, 84.5)

Employer satisfaction is consistently high across Australia’s Table A and B universities, with overall satisfaction ranging from 91 per cent to 77 per cent across universities, when results are combined from the 2016 and 2017 surveys. While employer satisfaction appears broadly similar across most institutions, the publication of confidence intervals demonstrates there is differentiation in employer satisfaction among some institutions. For example, 91 per cent of direct supervisors rated graduates from James Cook University favourably and this was significantly higher than direct supervisors’ satisfaction with five other universities.

Employer overall satisfaction by institution, 2016 and 2017 (%)

Employer overall satisfaction by institution, 2016 and 2017 (%)

Care should be taken when interpreting results from the 2017 ESS presented on this website. The results are estimates only, because they are based on a survey which was not completed by all supervisors. As with previous administrations of the ESS, graduates appear reluctant to pass on the contact details of their supervisors with only a 9.3 per cent graduate referral rate achieved for 2017. The accuracy of the figures varies depending on the number of supervisors who completed the survey. Confidence intervals are displayed to provide a measure of the accuracy of the estimates. Results from the ESS by institution by study area are not currently presented on this website.

For a detailed synopsis of the ESS results, please see the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey Report.

Over 4,000 supervisors of Australian resident and international undergraduates, postgraduate coursework graduates and postgraduate research graduates from Australian universities and non-university higher education institutions participated in the ESS in 2017, making it the largest ever Australian survey of employers of higher education graduates. While there are an insufficient number of responses to publish institution by study area results on the QILT website, the ESS is large enough to provide comparisons by broad field of education, course characteristics, employment characteristics, occupation and demographic group.

Results have been combined from the 2016 and 2017 ESS to provide comparisons across universities. This follows the approach for other surveys on the QILT website where results are pooled across years to increase the number of responses and confidence intervals are published to improve the robustness and validity of data. Combining 2016 and 2017 ESS results provides 6,800 employer responses across universities, ranging from over 400 responses for Deakin University down to 35 responses for Bond University. The QILT reports and website do not publish results where there are fewer than 25 survey responses. For this reason, results for individual non-university higher education institution (NUHEIs) are not shown as the number of employer responses is too small.

The ESS is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and in 2017 was administered by the Social Research Centre. Six indicators of employer satisfaction are displayed on this website.

The indicators relate to:

  1. Overall satisfaction
  2. Foundation skills - general literacy, numeracy and communication skills and the ability to investigate and integrate knowledge
  3. Adaptive skills - the ability to adapt and apply skills/knowledge and work independently
  4. Collaborative skills - teamwork and interpersonal skills
  5. Technical skills - application of professional and technical knowledge and standards
  6. Employability skills - the ability to perform and innovate in the workplace

The QILT website reports the proportion of employers satisfied with each indicator, based on employer feedback to the following questions:

 

ESS indicator Description

Overall satisfaction

The percentage of supervisors who expressed overall satisfaction with their graduate. This is based on the number of employers who gave the response they were ‘likely to consider’ or ‘very likely to consider’ to the following question in the ESS, ‘Based on your experience with this graduate, how likely are you to consider hiring another graduate from the same course and institution, if you had a relevant vacancy?’

Foundation skills

The percentage of supervisors who expressed satisfaction with graduates’ foundation skills. This indicator is based on the average of a supervisor’s feedback about the following eight graduate attributes from the ESS:

  1. Oral communication skills
  2. Written communication skills
  3. Numeracy skills
  4. Ability to develop relevant knowledge
  5. Ability to develop relevant skills
  6. Ability to solve problems
  7. Ability to integrate knowledge
  8. Ability to think independently about problems
Adaptive skills

The percentage of supervisors who expressed satisfaction with graduates’ adaptive skills. This indicator is based on the average of a supervisor’s feedback about the following six graduate attributes from the ESS:

  1. Broad background knowledge
  2. Ability to develop innovative ideas
  3. Ability to identify new opportunities
  4. Ability to adapt knowledge to different concepts
  5. Ability to apply skills in different contexts
  6. Capacity to work independently
Collaborative skills

The percentage of supervisors who expressed satisfaction with graduates’ collaborative skills. This indicator is based on the average of a supervisor’s feedback about the following five graduate attributes from the ESS:

  1. Working well in a team
  2. Getting on well with others in the workplace
  3. Working collaboratively with colleagues to complete tasks
  4. Understanding different points of view
  5. Ability to interact with co-workers from different or multi-cultural backgrounds
Technical skills

The percentage of supervisors who expressed satisfaction with graduates’ technical skills. This indicator is based on the average of a supervisor’s feedback about the following six graduate attributes from the ESS:

  1. Applying professional knowledge to job tasks
  2. Using technology effectively
  3. Applying technical skills in the workplace
  4. Maintaining professional standards
  5. Observing ethical standards
  6. Using research skills to gather evidence
Employability skills

The percentage of supervisors who expressed satisfaction with graduates’ employability skills. This indicator is based on the average of a supervisor’s feedback about the following eight graduate attributes from the ESS:

  1. Ability to work under pressure
  2. Capacity to be flexible in the workplace
  3. Ability to meet deadlines
  4. Understanding the nature of your business or organisation
  5. Demonstrating leadership skills
  6. Demonstrating management skills
  7. Taking responsibility for professional development
  8. Demonstrating initiative in the workplace
For technical details about the calculations used to score data derived from the ESS, please see the document, Technical Details - ESS Calculations.

2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey National Report

Author(s): Social Research Centre

Published: 2018

2016 Employer Satisfaction Survey National Report

Author(s): The Social Research Centre

Type: Reports

Published: 2017

Employer Satisfaction Survey 2014 Trial Report

In 2014 and 2015, the Social Research Centre conducted additional small scale trials of the ESS aimed at refining the survey methodology and the ESS instrument.