Thinking about undertaking a post-graduate degree? If you do, will it affect your chances of employment and getting a fulltime, or even a part-time job?
Postgraduate studies are deemed by experts to benefit and meet the needs of those postgrad students in different ways. Not least of all to top up a more general degree with vocational qualifications to help the student stand out from a workforce increasingly crowded by bachelor degree graduates.
Having a postgraduate degree is likely to help boost your prospects of getting a job, well before those with no postgraduate qualifications.
So – if nothing else – there’s a couple of pretty compelling reasons to seriously consider a postgraduate course of study, particularly if you also take into account a recently published report revealing that last year- 2013 – just under 93% of new postgraduates were in some form of employment shortly after completing their degrees.
The Postgraduate Destinations 2013 report by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) is based on the annual Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) of new graduates from Australian institutions of higher education. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, shows that last year postgraduates had an unemployment rate of between 2.6 and 3.5 per cent, compared to the much higher rate of 7.8% for those with no post-secondary qualifications and 5.7% for the entire workforce.
The ABS data seems to strengthen the case for undertaking a postgraduate degree and, consequently, enjoying a greater chance of gaining a job over and above those students with no post-secondary qualifications.
As the GCA report reveals, precisely 92.4% of new postgraduates were in some form of employment shortly after completing their degrees. This is based on total responses to the GCA survey from almost 139,000 higher education graduates, including over 52,000 postgraduates.
The survey also found that almost one-in-ten (9.7%) postgraduates were working on a part-time basis while continuing to seek full-time employment, with 82.7% in full-time employment, adding to the total of 92.4%.
However, there is no guaranteed pathway to a job, just because you have a postgraduate degree. Add to that, the extra time and cost of undertaking a postgraduate degree, versus an earlier entry into the workforce and therefore an earlier money-earning period, it’s undoubtedly one good reason for many graduates to call a stop to their years of study, and not go on to secure a postgraduate qualification.
The fact, however, is, that the prospect of spending time in the unemployment wilderness is still a likelihood, even for postgraduates.
While postgraduates seem to have an edge over non-postgrad students in securing a job and avoiding the unemployment queues, the GCA report does reveal that 7.5% of recent postgraduates were without work and seeking a full-time position at the time of the AGS report last year by the GCA.This figure was up marginally from 6.3% in 2012 and 6.6% in 2011, but notably higher than 3.6% in 2006.
Despite the unemployment rate of some postgraduates, as you would expect, the GCA is emphatic that postgraduate studies continue to play an important role in the education and training of Australians. The organisation cites data showing that between 1999 and 2012, the number of people completing postgraduate awards increased by 124%, and in 2012 more than a third of higher education students who completed their bachelor degree had also continued on and studied at a postgraduate level.