Graduate Employment

Information on the QILT website about graduate employment outcomes is sourced from the Graduate Destinations Survey (GDS) for 2014 and 2015 and the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) for 2016.

The GOS is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and in 2016 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 2014, 2015 and 2016 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 2017 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 2017 GOS-L is based on a cohort analysis of graduates who responded to the 2014 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 2014, 67.5 per cent of undergraduates were in full-time employment four months after graduation. Three years later in 2017, 89.3 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 2014 to 91.7 per cent in 2017. 

 

Figure 1: Undergraduate employment outcomes, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), as a proportion of people available for each kind of employment (%)

Median salaries for graduates employed full-time increased from $56,000 in 2014 to $68,500 in 2017 (see Figure 2). In 2014, female graduates earned $5,500, or 9 per cent, less than male graduates. In 2017, for the same cohort of graduates three years later, the difference in salary by gender had risen to $6,400, remaining stable in proportional terms at 9 per cent. 

 
Figure 2: Undergraduate median salaries, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), 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 2014, 45.8 per cent of Creative Arts undergraduates had found full-time work four months after graduation, but three years later 79.4 per cent were in full-time work. Similarly, 48.0 per cent of Science and Mathematics undergraduates were in full-time employment shortly after graduation in 2014, but three years later 84.5 per cent were in full-time work (see Table 1).

 

Table 1: Undergraduate full-time employment, by study area, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), as a proportion of people available for full-time employment (%)

Study area

Short-term – 2014

Medium-term – 2017

Medicine

97.7

97.8

Rehabilitation

81.5

97.3

Pharmacy

92.5

95.2

Dentistry

81.8

93.5

Business and Management

72.9

93.4

Computing and Information Systems

72.4

93.3

Nursing

78.8

92.4

Law and Paralegal Studies

69.7

92.2

Engineering

71.8

91.6

Teacher Education

70.1

91.3

Health Services and Support

65.8

90.5

Architecture and Built Environment

65.6

89.4

Overall results

67.5

89.3

Veterinary Science

82.8

89.1

Social Work

72.7

88.9

Tourism, Hospitality, Personal Services, Sport and Recreation

48.4

88.6

Agriculture and Environmental Studies

58.4

86.7

Communications

52.5

85

Humanities, Culture and Social Sciences

57.5

84.5

Science and Mathematics

48

83.5

Psychology

53.4

83.3

Creative Arts

45.8

79.4

At the postgraduate coursework level, the full-time employment rate rose from 82.6 per cent in 2014 to 91.9 per cent in 2017 (see Figure 3). The rate of overall employment also increased over the same period, from 93.2 per cent to 94.3 per cent.

Figure 3: Postgraduate coursework employment outcomes, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), as a proportion of people available for each kind of employment (%)

Median full-time salaries for postgraduate coursework degree holders rose by 12.5 per cent between 2014 and 2017, from $80,000 to $90,000 (see Figure 4). In 2014, median salaries for female graduates were $18,000, or 20 per cent, less than for male graduates. By 2017 the difference in salaries earned had fallen to $15,000, or 15 per cent.

Figure 4: Postgraduate coursework median salaries, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), of those people employed full-time

For postgraduate research, the rate of full-time employment rose from 77.1 per cent shortly after program completion, to 90.9 per cent three years later in 2017 (see Figure 5). Overall employment rates also rose, from 92.4 per cent in 2014 to 93.6 per cent in 2017.

 
Figure 5: Postgraduate research employment outcomes, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), as a proportion of people available for each kind of employment (%)

Median-full time salaries for postgraduate research degree holders increased by 24.8 per cent between 2014 and 2017, from $80,000 to $99,800 (see Figure 6). Median earnings of male and female graduates were equal in 2014, but by 2017 median salaries for female graduates were $3,000, or 3 per cent, less than for male graduates.

 
Figure 6: Postgraduate research median salaries, short-term (2014) and medium-term (2017), of those people employed full-time

For further details and results, please see the 2017 GOS-L National Report. Results from the GOS-L by institution by study area are not currently presented on this website.