The 3 degrees that guarantee jobs – and the ones that don’t

Students who complete a medicine, pharmacy or engineering degree are most likely to get hired after graduating, and one particular university trumps others for job outcomes, new data reveals.

According to the 2020 Graduate Outcomes Survey, 97.3 per cent of medicine undergraduates in 2017 found work in their field within three years. This is followed closely by pharmacy graduates (95.7 per cent) and engineers (95.4 per cent).

On the other end of the spectrum, 79.4 per cent of undergraduates who had studied creative arts took three years to find employment in their sector.

Those in the tourism, hospitality, personal services, sport and recreation sector (84.6 per cent) and the communication sector (84.9 per cent) also saw lower rates of employment than other industries.

The survey also revealed that graduates from Australian Catholic University were most employable in the market, with 95.5 per cent hired within three years, followed by the Australian National University (95.2 per cent) and the University of Canberra (94.1 per cent).

More than 93 per cent of graduates from the highly sought-after University of New South Wales landed jobs within three years, with the University of Sydney slightly behind at 91.1 per cent.

Monash University recorded 90.6 per cent, and RMIT University at 88.5 per cent.

But while most graduates were finding employment after graduation, two in five (40.9 per cent) said their skills and qualifications were not fully utilised immediately following graduation, though this did fall to 26.7 per cent three years later.

“While the most commonly cited reason for employed graduates working in a job that did not fully utilise their skills and education three years after graduation was because the graduate was satisfied with their current job, a sizeable proportion, 19.4 per cent, said this was because there were no suitable jobs in their area of expertise,” the report said.

“A further 13.9 per cent said they were not fully utilising their skills or education because there were no suitable jobs in their local area. Other employed respondents gave personal reasons for working in jobs that did not fully utilise their skills or education such as the 15.8 per cent who were engaged in further full-time study.”

The research comes from the latest annual Graduate Outcomes Survey, which tracks employment of university graduates one year and about three years after they have finished their course.

“Graduates continue to experience strong gains in employment in the three years following completion of their degree. The undergraduate full-time employment rate immediately after graduation was 73.0 per cent in 2017 but rose 17.1 percentage points in the three years following graduation to 90.1 per cent in 2020,” the report said.

The survey, which coincided with the Government’s social distancing measures put in place in the last week of March, revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic had taken a toll on graduates’ ability to find jobs.

“In general, the 2020 graduate outcomes survey confirms findings from previous reports, that following a downturn in economic activity, it can take graduates longer to successfully establish themselves in their careers.”


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