Few disciplines escape the graduate employment downturn

As reported yesterday, Australia has recorded its worst ever employment outcomes for recent bachelor-degree graduates. The employment pain is widely spread, with only four of the forty disciplines monitored by Graduate Careers Australia escaping an employment downturn between 2013 and 2014. They are social work, medicine, veterinary science and allied health.

The largest deterioration in employment outcomes was experienced by engineering graduates, showing yet again that this is a boom and bust field of education, with periods of very low unemployment quickly followed by periods of high unemployment.


There have been many media stories about the declining job market for law graduates, and this is supported by the GCA data. Law graduates managed reasonably well in the early 1990s recession, but now there is a clear negative trend. The upside is that their un-/under-employment is still lower than the average.


I have been saying for years that there is nothing in the graduate employment data that justified claims of too few science graduates, and this year’s numbers again support my argument. Un-/under-employment rates for life science graduates now exceeds 50 per cent, second worst only to perpetual employment wooden spoon winners, graduates in the visual and performing arts. The full list of graduate un-under-employment rates is beneath the fold.


Visual/Performing Arts 55.3
Life Sciences 52
Social Sciences 49.9
Psychology 47.9
Physical Sciences 45.1
Languages 43.9
Chemistry 42.9
Architecture 42.2
Humanities 42
Aeronautical Engineering 41.8
Geology 40.1
Chemical Engineering 38.4
Agriculture 37.5
Mathematics 35.1
Urban & Regional Planning 35
Computer Science 32.8
Law, Other 31.9
Education – Post/Other 30.8
Business Studies 30.3
Education – Initial~ 30
Health, Other 29.6
Other Engineering 29.5
Mechanical Engineering 29
Social Work 28.4
Accounting 26.1
Rehabilitation 25.5
Civil Engineering 25.1
Electronic/Computer Engineering 25.1
Economics 24.7
Law 24.7
Nursing, Post-initial 24.2
Building 22.8
Electrical Engineering 22
Dentistry 20.4
Nursing, Initial 19.5
Veterinary Science 19.3
Mining Engineering 17.2
Surveying 16.1
Pharmacy 5.9
Medicine 2.5

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