In recent years there has been much talk in the media about the employment and earning prospects of graduates of higher education. I recall many an editorial with breathless declarations of graduates earning more $1M more than non-graduates.
So with a report coming out recently informing us all that employment prospects have stagnated and earnings for first year bachelor degree graduates have, in fact, dropped slightly there is concern for those just leaving university in 2014.
The annual survey, conducted by Graduate Careers Australia has some sobering statistics:
- Up to thirty-two per cent of graduates seeking full-time work had not found one four months after completing their degree in 2014 – a 29 per cent increase on same time last year.
- Undergraduate enrolments have increased by 23 per cent (110,000 students) since 2009.
- Pharmacy, medicine and mining engineering graduates were most likely in full-time employ at this time of the year compare to social science, chemistry and psychology graduates.
- A quarter of law graduates were still seeking employment four months after graduation – an increase of 9 per cent from 2008.
There is speculation that the downturn in job vacancies and earnings is in direct relation to the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/8. Before the downturn 85 per cent of university graduates were employed in their first four months of finishing their degree compared with only 68 per cent this year.
It’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ for graduates as far as long term unemployment is concerned as the report indicates that medium to long-term job prospects remain strong. 3.2 per cent of university graduates are unemployed compared with 8.2 per cent of those with not post-secondary qualifications.