Graduate Employment

Information on the ComparED website about graduate employment outcomes is sourced from the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS).

The GOS is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and since 2016 has been administered annually by the Social Research Centre.

The GOS is completed by graduates of Australian higher education institutions approximately four months after completion of their courses. It provides information on the labour market outcomes and further study activities of graduates.

Four indicators of graduate outcomes are displayed on the ComparED website. Survey results from 2017, 2018 and 2019 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


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 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, please see the document, Technical Details - GOS Calculations

The GOS has replaced the previous Australian Graduate Survey, which ceased in 2015. For details on the transition between the GDS and the GOS, please see the 2018 GOS National Report.

In 2019, 72.2 per cent of undergraduates were in full-time employment four months after completing their degree, down by 0.7 percentage points from 72.9 per cent in the previous year. The overall employment rate for undergraduates was 86.8 per cent in 2019, down slightly from 87.0 per cent in 2018.

The fall in employment among new graduates is in contrast with the improvement in full-time employment among more established undergraduates three years after graduation from 89.2 per cent in 2018 to 90.1 per cent in 2019, as shown by the 2019 Graduate Outcomes Survey – Longitudinal (GOS-L). Similarly, overall employment among undergraduates three years out improved from 91.9 per cent in 2018 to 93.3 per cent in 2019. That new graduates were finding it harder to gain employment than more established graduates is consistent with the slight softening in the labour market observed in early 2019 with the overall unemployment rate rising from a low point of 4.9 per cent in February 2019 to 5.3 per cent in May 2019, as shown by the ABS Labour Force Survey (6203.0).

Graduates newly entering the workforce and with less work experience generally experience greater difficulty finding work, This is consistent with the broader long run trend since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) where new graduates have found it more difficult to make a successful transition to the labour market upon completion of their studies.

For further details, see the 2019 GOS National Report

The 2019 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 2019 GOS-L is based on a cohort analysis of graduates who responded to the 2016 Graduate Outcomes Survey.

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

For further details, see the GOS-L 2019 National Report and data visualisation below.


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Review of the Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire

Published: 2016

Australian Graduate Survey historical data

Published: 2016