What other degrees do science graduates hold?

This morning The Conversation ran another article by me on the employability of science graduates.

I used some data from the ABS Learning and Work survey. Unfortunately access to their micro-data is not free, but it does allow more detailed exploration of graduate qualifications and outcomes than most other sources. Most ABS surveys, for example, just ask about a respondent’s highest qualification. Learning and Work asks about multiple qualifications.

Learning and Work estimates that there are about 348,000 people with a bachelor degree in science. However, 35 per cent of the report as their highest degree either a postgraduate degree in science or a degree in another field. The most common other fields were education, management, health and IT. [Note: The figures in the table were corrected on 24 June. The figures in the text were correct.]

corrected science

So while employment prospects in some disciplines are sometimes not great, people often adapt to this by seeking higher or different qualifications that improve their job prospects.

  1. If you look at something like Medicine, most of the ‘selection’ occurs prior to acceptance into the degree – they accept the top VCE students from the state, and everyone finishing the degree gets a job (that I’m aware of.) But with science, they often have a low cut-off but the actual ‘selection’ occurs after the degree the complete. Its a ‘post-gradation’ rather than ‘pre-graduation’ selection process (for employment.) The problem is that you’re not told that and its very inefficient. It might be better to cut the number of science places to ensure that only the best students get in, and therefore the employment rate of graduates will increase. In a sense, its great for employers to have such a large pool of graduates to choose from (CSIRO and universities won’t complain) but its terrible for the students.

    The advantage for me is that having a BSc(Hons) and an LLB is an unusual combination which is seen as being beneficial – especially in areas like patent law and forensic science, but even in general, because many lawyers are scientifically illiterate.

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