The good news is more grads

 But a new analysis of the interface between policy and employment finds grads can face long periods of un and under employment

Thirty years of HE policy reform have met objectives, with, “a significant rise in the number of people graduating with HE qualifications,” Lynlea Small, Ruth McPhail and Amie Shaw (all Griffith U) report in a new qualitative analysis, designed to provide a, “knowledge base for all stakeholders in the HE sector to draw from in terms of policy and planning, with the end goal to enhance the employment prospects and employability.” *

“Women, those seeking postgraduate qualifications and those considered socio-economically disadvantaged are all success stories,” they suggest.

But and it is a big one, “higher education graduates in Australia can face long periods to secure full-time jobs with many experiencing underemployment and unemployment.”

The argue past assumptions that demand for graduates would outstrip supply are not fulfilled, pointing to grads accounting for 17.3 per cent of the unemployed in 2016 and 18.9 per cent of a smaller jobless pool in 2019.

And while they accept that over 2014-19 full-time employment of UG completers increased over time and underemployment declined, they still point to a 2 per cent increase in grad unemployment across the period.

The stats and other evidence suggests, they argue “that universities, to some extent, have not been successful in preparing students for the workforce. “More needs to be done to create better outcomes for students, their families and the broader HE stakeholders, including employers, governments, and the communities they serve,” they conclude.

* Lynlea Small, Ruth McPhail and Amie Shaw, “Graduate employability: the higher education landscape in Australia,” Higher Education Research and Development