The annual survey by Graduate Careers Australia has revealed that higher education graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find full-time work. Conversely, the number of graduates accepting the alternative of part-time work is on the rise. Higher education remains the most secure employment pathway however, with more than 68 percent of graduates finding full-time employment within four months.
Part-time work a symptom of a flat economy
The statistics are a reflection of an economy that remains flat after the global financial crisis of 2009. The survey results reveal that the take-up of work has fallen 3.2 percent since 2013, and a large decrease of 8 percent since 2012. The extensive survey was completed by more than half of the 191,000 resident graduates in 2014.
The figures disclosed that part-time work is becoming the norm in almost all work sectors, including occupations that require tertiary level qualifications. The employment figures don’t include the 21 percent of graduates who are continuing in full-time study.
Gender wage inequality due to study choices
The report also revealed that the average wage for a female graduate is lower than for their male counterparts. Female graduates commenced work on a median salary of $52,000, while males earned $55,000 on average. These differences could be attributed to a number of reasons:
- more females than males entering the workforce
- females more likely to accept a lower wage in order to join the workforce
- different study options and employment outcomes for females and males
- males holding out longer for full-time and higher paid work
The results highlighted a continuing trend of over-representation by males in some fields of education. Engineering, for example, remains a male-dominated study option attracting a high salary upon graduation, whereas Humanities is a female dominated study option, and rates at the lower end of the wage spectrum.