Positive outlook for Higher Education graduates

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A new report published today shows that employment and salary outcomes for Higher Education graduates across Australia have improved over the last 12 months.

The Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) forms part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) survey suite, and was produced for the Department of Education and Training.

The latest data on the Graduate Outcomes Survey has been refreshed on the QILT website. Prospective students are invited to explore the findings at qilt.edu.au/graduate-employment.

QILT Research Manager Lisa Bolton welcomed the new findings.

"This year's Graduate Outcomes Survey again shows encouraging outcomes across the board for Australia's Higher Education graduates," Ms Bolton said.

The report showed that in 2017, 71.8% of undergraduates were in full-time employment four months after completing their degree, up from 70.9 per cent in the previous year.

"The GOS report highlights the steady improvement in the full-time employment rate of graduates in recent years from the low point of 68.1% in 2014," Ms Bolton said.

"The GOS report's findings are consistent with a modest improvement in the overall labour market over the period."

Salary outcomes also showed healthy increases – across both undergraduate and postgraduate streams.

The median annual salary of undergraduates employed full-time in 2017 was $60,000, an increase of $2,100 compared to graduates from the previous year.

"The GOS report shows that as in previous years, undergraduates reported confidence that their qualification had prepared them for employment," Ms Bolton said.

"We found that 77% of undergraduates who are employed full-time said that their qualification had prepared them either 'well' or 'very well'."

In terms of gender disparity in salaries, the report presents mixed findings.

Female undergraduates continue to earn less than male undergraduates. In 2017, female undergraduates were earning $59,000, while males took home on average $60,100, a difference of $1,100.

However, when the survey was conducted in 2016, the gender pay gap was $3,600.

"As the GOS report shows, the encouraging news is that this is the lowest recorded gender gap in undergraduate salaries reported in 40 years of data," Ms Bolton said.

"According to the GOS report, the gender gap in graduate salaries is partly explained by the fact that females are more likely to graduate from fields of education that receive lower levels of remuneration."

"However, as the GOS report shows, female graduates still earn less than their male counterparts within fields of education or study areas both immediately upon graduation and three years following graduation."

The full report, as well as interactive results and tables, are available on the QILT website: qilt.edu.au/graduate-employment

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