The 2021 Graduate Outcomes Survey National Report, released this month, found that graduate labour market outcomes stabilised somewhat in 2021 after declining between 2019 and 2020. The report includes a range of quality indicators, including the following:

  • Although the overall employment rate for recent graduates recorded a slight decline, from 85.1 per cent in the 2020 to 84.8 per cent in 2021, the full-time graduate employment rate increased slightly, from 68.7 per cent to 68.9 per cent.
  • Results by each of the three survey rounds indicate greater turbulence in the graduate labour market than is suggested by these aggregate annual results.
  • The full-time employment rate of postgraduate coursework graduates declined from 85.6 per cent in 2020 to 84.9 per cent in 2021. The full-time employment rate among postgraduate research graduates experienced a larger decline, from 80.1 per cent in 2020 to 77.7 per cent in 2021, a fall of 2.4 percentage points.
  • The median undergraduate salary level increased slightly from $64,700 in 2020 to $65,000 in 2021.
  • Female undergraduates continue to earn less than male undergraduates in 2021, $64,200 compared with $66,800 respectively. This equates to a gender pay gap of 3.9 per cent, increasing from 2.5 per cent in 2020.
  • Higher level qualifications generally lead to improved salary outcomes in addition to improved employment outcomes. The median salary of undergraduates employed full-time in 2021 was $65,000 per year while for postgraduate coursework graduates it was $89,700 and for postgraduate research graduates it was $95,000.
  • Indigenous undergraduates were more likely to be in full-time employment than non-Indigenous undergraduates, at 76.8 per cent and 68.8 per cent respectively, and more likely to be employed, at 85.7 per cent and 84.7 per cent respectively.
  • Graduates from higher socio-economic status (SES) categories performed better in most employment areas, with 70.0 per cent of high SES undergraduates employed full-time compared with 68.7 per cent of those in medium SES and 67.6 per cent in the low SES category.
  • Full-time and overall employment rates of undergraduates from regional or remote areas remained higher than for those from metropolitan areas.
  • The largest increases in undergraduate full-time employment by study area have been in Veterinary science, up from 78.2 per cent in 2020 to 87.0 per cent in 2021, an increase of 8.8 percentage points, Rehabilitation up 7.1 percentage points, Tourism, hospitality, personal services, sport and recreation up 6.3 percentage points, Health services and support up 5.3 percentage points, and Dentistry up 4.5 percentage points.
  • More than half of universities experienced increases in undergraduate full-time employment between 2020 and 2021. Universities with the highest full-time employment rates in 2021 were Charles Sturt University, 84.6 per cent, Central Queensland University, 83.4 per cent, University of New England, 80.9 per cent, University of Southern Queensland, 79.2 per cent, and James Cook University 78.0 per cent.
  • Four months after graduation, 67.8 per cent of undergraduates employed full-time were working in managerial or professional occupations which was lower than the 69.5 per cent reported in 2020, 69.9 per cent reported in 2019, and 72.1 per cent reported in 2018.
  • 3 per cent of undergraduates employed full-time indicated they were working in a job that did not allow them to fully use their skills or education, up from 28.1 per cent in 2020, 28.3 per cent in 2019, and 27.1 per cent in 2018.

The Graduate Employment Survey is part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching. It is completed by graduates of Australian higher education institutions approximately four to six months after finishing their studies.

The Report can be found here: 2021 Graduate Outcomes Survey National Report