Intending higher education students should read the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey released today by the Government in order to better inform their educational choices, says the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Australian Chamber’s Chief Executive, James Pearson says “the message from business is that employment and salary outcomes from university are mixed, and students need to understand that outcomes largely depend on the area of study.”
“Media commentary earlier this week on the Employer Satisfaction Survey could have left students confused, with universities claiming that they are doing a great job, and others voicing concerns about employability and the usefulness of a degree. The truth is that it depends on what and where you study.”
“Although this survey shows that the graduate employment outcome average has risen, this rise largely reflects the general rise in employment levels across the economy and masks wide differences across disciplines, from a high of 95.9% with medicine, to a low of 53.2% for creative arts.
“We also need to be clear about STEM*. Even though Australia needs to improve STEM skills across most occupations, not all STEM disciplines at university have the same outcomes. Science and Mathematics, for example, is well below the average at 59%. Diving deeper into the report shows that only 41% of science and maths graduates and only 36% of agricultural and environmental scientists are employed at a professional level four months after graduation so their skills are not necessarily being fully used at least early on.”
“Higher Education institutions need to work closely with business to respond to changes in the labour market and prepare graduates with skills in demand. This is particularly important for generalist degrees which don’t fare so well in terms of employment and salary outcomes.
“This is also a good time to remember that higher education is not for everyone, and a vocational pathway such as an apprenticeship in a trade or in the services industry can yield a great career and good long term salary outcomes.
“We strongly urge prospective students before they finalise their choices to make use of the resources available on the QILT website (www.qilt.edu.au) as it brings this rich data to life and would-be students can compare institutions and courses. Australia needs a far more informed market if we are to get better outcomes from higher education.”
*Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths