The Australia Graduate Survey (AGS) shows that the three-year outlook for graduates finding fulltime jobs has risen from 76.2% in 2012 to 88.5% in 2015. The median starting salary for bachelor degree graduates has also increased to $54,000.
The report also points out the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that only 3.4% of bachelor degree graduates are unemployed – compared with 8.7% for those without a post-school qualification.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said that the latest figures confirmed once again that a university education enhances employability.
“At a time of great economic change, one of the best investments people can make is to get a university education,” she said.
“We know that today’s young people are likely to have several careers over their working lives. Universities are equipping their graduates with the skills they need for a range of careers and to adapt to ever-changing job markets. This adaptability gives university graduates the edge in a competitive economy,” she said.
“There’s no doubt that global economic uncertainties and declining terms of trade have taken a toll on jobs growth, but this report shows that recovery in the job market is happening and we are seeing renewed growth in the graduate labour market.”
“It’s also great to see that graduate satisfaction remains at very high levels across the board.”
Highlights from the Australian Graduate Survey include:
eight in ten indigenous graduates have found full-time employment within four months of finishing their degree, higher than the survey average;
graduate satisfaction remains high with 94% of bachelor degree graduates satisfied with their higher education experience;
in 2015, the median starting salary for bachelor degree graduates aged less than 25 and in their first full-time employment in Australia was $54,000 (up from $52,500 in 2014);
the three-year full-time employment figure for 2012 survey respondents rose from 76.2% in 2012 to 88.5% in 2015.
The Grattan Institute’s Mapping Australian higher education 2016 report recently concluded that some STEM graduates were finding it hard to find work in the months immediately after graduation.
Ms Robinson cautioned against reading too much into the four-month figures, with full-time job rates significantly higher three years after graduation.
"STEM degrees are also great generalist degrees which equip graduates with skills and knowledge needed in a wide range of workplaces," she said.
"The challenge ahead for Australia is not just to create jobs for STEM graduates - but also to boost STEM literacy for everyone as foundational skills for many new economy jobs."