Worst ever new graduate employment outcomes

The latest graduate employment statistics bring bad but not unexpected news: the proportion of graduates looking for full time work four months after completion has reached a record 32 per cent. This replaces the previous worst result of 29 per cent in the early 1990s recession – but without a major recession. For graduates aged under 25 years, 35 per cent were still looking for work four months after completion.

Grad unemploy
Source: Graduate Careers Australia, as above and here.

Of those looking for full-time work in early 2014, 20 per cent were working in a part-time or casual job, and 12 per cent were unemployed.

Oddly, there was little sign of this employment misery in the latest ABS Education and Work survey, which was released recently. Overall graduate unemployment remained a little over 3 per cent, the proportion of working graduates with jobs classified as professional or managerial increased, from 73 per cent to 76 per cent. I think these results should be treated sceptically. The survey is reporting increases in postgraduates that seem unlikely, being way in excess of the completions reported by the Department of Education (migration can affect the results, but not on the scale observed). The sample size means that the true result could be a fairly wide range for these sub-categories. I think they have erred on the high side.

2 thoughts on “Worst ever new graduate employment outcomes

  1. Season’s greetings to you Andrew. The disparity between the GCA and ABS results shows the danger of drawing conclusions – or worse still even policy decisions on data sourced from small survey populations and/or self-reported information. Yet the Federal Government has a solution. Since the advent of HECS and now the creation of the CHESSN, the Government can directly link a student’s HE record with his/her earnings. It would require a change to legislation but if done, the Government would be able to release large-scale, incredibly detailed information regarding graduate outcomes. I have been interested in and advocating for this for some time from an equity perspective. However with the spectre of deregulation still looming, there is also a case to be made from the perspective of consumer information. If University X wishes to charge double that of its competitors, then prospective students have the right to know whether its claims of future graduate earnings are accurate.


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