The stats show it: degrees deliver opportunity (but not as much money for women)

The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching employment and income graduate survey results are out and they demonstrate the power of education. These results cover the class of 2015,  who all enrolled during the demand driven system and they show that education expands opportunity, with a larger class of graduates getting work they studied for and earning more.

Employment:  QILT reports 67 per cent of 2015 bachelor-level graduates were in full-time employment four months after completing their course, but three years later 89 per cent were working FT. The growth for postgrad coursework completers was 81 per cent in FT work in 2015, rising to 92 per cent in ‘18.

By 2018 overall employment of ’15 graduates averaged 92.4 per cent for all universities. The range was 86.4 per cent for those from UniMelbourne to 96.7 per cent for those of Murdoch U.

Earnings: In 2015, among graduates in full-time employment four months after their course, the median salary level was $56,700. Three years the median salary level of the same cohort of graduates in full-time employment had risen by 23 per cent to $70,000.

Gender gap: QILT demonstrates women grads earn less, both overall, and within disciplines. “Notwithstanding research suggesting that females tend to graduate from fields of education with lower salary levels, female graduates within fields of education or study areas still earn less than their male counterparts both immediately upon graduation and three years following graduation. … Beyond subject choice, the gender gap in median graduate salaries persists due to a range of other factors such as occupation, age, experience, personal factors and possible inequalities within workplaces,” QILT states.

The same applies to postgraduates; with the exception of engineering, agriculture and environmental studies, women from the class of 2015 were earning less than men three years later.

Skills: Some 76 per cent of all employed graduates reported their qualification prepared them well or very well for their job. QILT adds, “even if graduates are not yet working in their area of content specialisation, they acquired core skills as part of their university qualification that were relevant to an effective engagement with the workplace.”

University-specific outcomes: “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 and variations in state/territory and regional labour markets, might also impact on employment outcomes. Nevertheless, it appears there is differentiation among universities with some achieving higher rates of full-time employment over the medium-term than others.”

By 2018, universities with high full-time employment rates for UGs included Charles Sturt University, (93.6 per cent), Murdoch University, (93.2 per cent), UTS (92.7 per cent), ANU (92.2 per cent) and UniSA (91.8 per cent).

Universities with median full-time undergraduate salaries between $75-$78 000 three years out included Charles Sturt U, UNSW, CQU, ANU and UTS.


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