Postgraduates: Strong Earnings and Employment

According to Graduate Careers Australia’s (GCA) newly released Postgraduate Destinations 2013 report, 92.4 per cent of new postgraduates were in some form of employment shortly after completing their degrees (see Table E1a in the related spreadsheet). The report is based on GCA’s 2013 Australian Graduate Survey (AGS).

Almost one-in-ten (9.7 per cent) were working on a part-time basis while continuing to seek full-time employment with 82.7 per cent in full-time employment, adding to the total of 92.4 per cent. A further 7.5 per cent of recent postgraduates were without work and seeking a full-time position at the time of the AGS. This figure is up slightly from 6.3 per cent in 2012 and 6.6 per cent in 2011 but notably higher than 3.6 per cent in 2006 (see Table E1a in the related spreadsheet).

Postgraduate studies continue to play an important role in the education and training of Australians. Between 1999 and 2012, the number of people completing postgraduate awards increased by 124 per cent. In 2012, more than a third of completing domestic higher education students had studied at a postgraduate level.

GCA Executive Director, Dr Noel Edge, said “Postgraduate study meets a variety of student needs, from updating old skills and re-skilling to adding vocational qualifications to a generalist degree in order to stand out from the increasing number of bachelor degree graduates in the Australian workforce.”

The median reported salary for all postgraduates was $79,000 ($85,000 for males and $72,000 for females (see Table 9 in the report)). Differences in salaries for males and females at this high level of aggregation are generally a result of factors such as differing field of education enrolment patterns, and differing types of employer and occupation.

In the wider Australian workforce, Australian Bureau of Statistics data gathered at around the same time as the AGS was conducted suggest that postgraduates had an unemployment rate of between 2.6 and 3.5 per cent, compared to 7.8 per cent for those with no post-secondary qualifications and 5.7 per cent for the entire workforce.

Further information and comment
Copies of the recently released Australian Graduate Survey report, Postgraduate Destinations 2013, can be downloaded from the GCA website: (password: PGDMEDIA).

For comment please contact Bruce Guthrie on (02) 6367 5347 or Graeme Bryant on (03) 9605 3710.