Graduate Employment

Information on the QILT website about graduate employment outcomes is sourced from the Graduate Destinations Survey (GDS) for 2015 and the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) for 2016 and 2017.

The GOS is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and in 2016 and 2017 was administered by the Social Research Centre. The GDS was a forerunner survey to the GOS which up to 2015 was administered by Graduate Careers Australia.

Both the GDS and the GOS have been completed by graduates of Australian higher education institutions approximately four months after completion of their courses. They provide information on the labour market outcomes and further study activities of graduates.

Four indicators of graduate outcomes are displayed on this website. Survey results from 2015, 2016 and 2017 are pooled to improve data reliability.

The indicators relate to:

  1. Graduates in full-time employment
  2. Graduates in overall employment
  3. Graduates in full-time study
  4. Median salary of graduates in full-time employment
Outcomes 
indicator

Description

Full-time employment

The proportion of graduates who were employed full-time four months after completing their course, as a percentage of those graduates who were available for full-time employment.

Overall employment The proportion of graduates who were in any kind of employment (including full-time, part-time or casual work), as a percentage of those graduates who were available for employment.
Full-time study
The proportion of graduates who were undertaking further full-time study, as a proportion of all graduates.
Median salary

The median salary level of graduates who were in full-time employment.

Full-time employment relates to graduates employed for 35 hours or more per week. Overall employment relates to graduates employed for one or more hours per week.

Employment outcomes data on this website includes responses from Australian resident graduates only. Data is displayed separately for graduates from undergraduate and postgraduate coursework level degrees.

Care should be taken when interpreting results from the GDS and GOS provided on this website. The results are estimates only, because they are based on surveys which were not completed by all graduates. The accuracy of the figures varies depending on the number of graduates who completed the survey. Confidence intervals are displayed to provide a measure of accuracy of the estimates.

For technical details about the calculations used to score data derived from the GOS and GDS, please see the document, Technical Details - GDS and GOS calculations. For details on the transition between the GDS and the GOS, please see the 2016 GOS National Report.

The 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey – Longitudinal (GOS-L) supplements the Graduate Outcomes Survey by measuring the medium-term employment outcomes of higher education graduates, approximately three years after they have completed their course. The 2018 GOS-L is based on a cohort analysis of graduates who responded to the 2015 Graduate Destinations Survey.

Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), graduates have taken longer to find work, especially those with generalist degrees. But as shown in the figures and table below, employment outcomes for higher education graduates improve markedly in the medium-term.

For example, in 2015, 67.1 per cent of undergraduates were in full-time employment four months after graduation. Three years later in 2018, 89.2 per cent of the same cohort of undergraduates had found full-time employment (see Figure 1). The proportion of undergraduates in employment overall, including full-time, part-time and casual work, also increased, from 89.7 per cent in 2015 to 92.4 per cent in 2018.

 

Figure 1: Undergraduate employment outcomes, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), as a proportion of people available for each kind of employment (%)

In 2015, the gender gap in graduate median salaries was $5,000 or 8.3 per cent. In 2018, for the same cohort of graduates three years later, the gender gap in graduate median salaries was $5,100 or 7.0 per cent. 

Figure 2: Undergraduate median salaries, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), of those people employed full-time

Generalist study areas with relatively low initial rates of full-time employment tend to experience particularly strong improvements over the medium-term. For example, in 2015, 48.3 per cent of Creative Arts undergraduates had found full-time work four months after graduation, but three years later 80.4 per cent were in full-time work. Similarly, 48.3 per cent of Science and Mathematics undergraduates were in full-time employment shortly after graduation in 2015, but three years later 85.6 per cent were in full-time work (see Table 1).

 

Table 1: Undergraduate full-time employment, by study area, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), as a proportion of people available for full-time employment (%)

Study area

Short-term – 2015

Medium-term – 2018

Medicine

93.3

97.5

Rehabilitation

87.2

97.2

Dentistry

88.2

95.9

Engineering

71.5

93.9

Veterinary science

79.3

93.6

Business and management

74.2

93.4

Pharmacy

95.5

93.0

Nursing

78.8

92.6

Teacher education

71.9

91.2

Computing and information systems

66.2

90.9

Law and paralegal studies

72.6

90.8

Health services and support

64.7

89.3

All study areas

67.1

89.2

Social work

69.8

89.1

Architecture and built environment

71.4

88.5

Agriculture and environmental studies

56.5

87.2

Science and mathematics

48.3

85.6

Tourism, hospitality, personal services, sportandrecreation

48.0

85.0

Communications

53.4

84.3

Psychology

51.3

83.3

Humanities, culture and social sciences

55.1

82.5

Creative arts

48.3

80.4

Three years after graduation there has been substantial improvement in full-time employment rates across universities so that all universities have full-time employment rates for undergraduates above 81 per cent, as shown by Figure 3. Note that there were insufficient survey responses to display results for the University of Divinity, while University of Wollongong chose not to participate in the 2018 GOS-L. 

Three years after graduation in 2018, universities with high full time employment rates for undergraduates were Charles Sturt University with 93.6 per cent, Murdoch University, 93.2 per cent, University of Technology, Sydney, 92.7 per cent, the Australian National University, 92.2 per cent and the University of South Australia with 91.8 per cent. It is important to acknowledge that factors beyond the quality of teaching, careers advice and the like, such as course offerings, the composition of the student population, study mode, and variations in state/territory and regional labour markets, might also impact on employment outcomes.

 

Figure 3: Short (2013-15) and medium-term (2016-18) undergraduate full-time employment rates by university (three years data combined, %)

 

As shown in Figure 4, universities with high median full-time undergraduate salaries three years out include Charles Sturt University, $78,300, the University of New South Wales, $77,500, Central Queensland University, $77,200 and the Australian National University and the University of Technology, Sydney, both $75,000.

 

Figure 4: Short (2013-15) and medium-term (2016-18) undergraduate median full-time salaries by university (three years data combined, $)

 

At the postgraduate coursework level, the full-time employment rate rose from 81.3 per cent in 2015 to 92.4 per cent in 2018 (see Figure 5). The rate of overall employment also increased over the same period, from 90.1 per cent to 91.9 per cent.

Figure 5: Postgraduate coursework employment outcomes, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), as a proportion of people available for each kind of employment (%)
 
Median full-time salaries for postgraduate coursework degree holders rose by 18.4 per cent between 2015 and 2018, from $76,000 to $90,000 (see Figure 6). The gender gap in salaries is much larger for postgraduate coursework graduates than for undergraduates. In the short-term four months after graduation, the gender gap in postgraduate coursework median salaries is $15,000 (or 17.2 per cent) in comparison with $5,000 (8.3 per cent) for undergraduates. In the medium-term, the respective figures are $16,500 (or 16.3 per cent) and $5,100 (7.0 per cent).

Figure 6: Postgraduate coursework median salaries, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), of those people employed full-time
 
Three years after graduation, all universities have achieved full-time employment rates above 85 per cent for their postgraduate coursework students, as shown in Figure 7. Note that there were insufficient survey responses to display results for University of Divinity, while University of Wollongong chose not to participate in the 2018 GOS-L. 

Universities with high full-time employment rates for postgraduate coursework graduates were the University of Notre Dame Australia, 97.2 per cent, Charles Darwin University, 95.7 per cent, the University of Sydney, 95.7 per cent, the University of Melbourne, 94.7 per cent and the University of New South Wales, 94.3 per cent. It is important to acknowledge that factors beyond the quality of teaching, careers advice and the like, such as course offerings, the composition of the student population, study mode, and variations in state/territory and regional labour markets, might also impact on employment outcomes. 

Figure 7: Short (2013-15) and medium-term (2016-18) postgraduate coursework full-time employment rates by university (three years data combined, %)
 
Universities with high median full-time salaries for postgraduate coursework graduates three years out in 2018 were the University of New South Wales, $114,800, Central Queensland University, $108,300, Federation University Australia, $105,000 and Macquarie University, $103,000, as shown in Figure 8.


Figure 8: Short (2013-15) and medium-term (2016-18) postgraduate coursework median full-time salaries by university (three years data combined, $)
 
For postgraduate research, the rate of full-time employment rose from 75.1 per cent shortly after program completion, to 89.6 per cent three years later in 2018 (see Figure 9). Overall employment rates also rose, from 90.1 per cent in 2015 to 91.9 per cent in 2018.

Figure 9: Postgraduate research employment outcomes, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), as a proportion of people available for each kind of employment (%)
 
Median-full time salaries for postgraduate research degree holders increased by 22.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018, from $80,000 to $98,000 (see Figure 10). Median earnings of male and female graduates were equal in 2015, but by 2018 median salaries for female graduates were $2,300, or 2 per cent, less than for male graduates.
Figure 10: Postgraduate research median salaries, short-term (2015) and medium-term (2018), of those people employed full-time
 
For further details and results, please see the 2018 GOS-L National Report. Results from the GOS-L by institution by study area are not currently presented on this website.