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Most college students get work within a few months of finishing, but some courses are better than others


January 11, 2019 06:10:10

Thousands of prospective students will receive first-round college offers today before the 2019 academic year.

Key points:

  • Pharmacy graduates were the most employed, while those who studied creative arts had difficulties
  • The study found that graduates did not always use the skills they acquired
  • A university degree "will pay dividends," according to Universities Australia

Many will have already made a decision about their choice of study, with strong expectations of a job at the end of the degree.

But what are the realities of the labor market for recent graduates? And what titles are likely to get a job that really uses the skills he learned in college?

The federal government surveyed more than 120,000 college graduates last year and found that nearly three-quarters had earned a I worked for four months after leaving university.

But there was a wide variation between the courses.

Pharmacy graduates almost universally obtained jobs directly from the university, with 97.2 percent in full-time jobs within four months of graduation.

Those who studied medicine did not stay behind, with 94.9% in full-time employment.

Graduates of rehabilitation, dentistry, veterinary and engineering careers also had good job prospects.

But for some grades, job prospects were much poorer.

People who studied generalist degrees struggled to get a job directly from the university.

The creative arts graduates were at the bottom of the list with only 52.2% full-time employment in the short term.

The people who studied tourism, hospitality, personal services, sports and recreation did not fare much better: 59.6 percent.

And despite the strong focus on STEM in schools, graduates in science and mathematics had little chance of short-term employment, with 64.6% in full-time jobs four months after graduation. A third of psychology graduates also had problems getting a job.

The 2018 Graduate Results Survey found that while a college degree results in better employment and salary prospects, especially for graduate students, there are also a large number of graduates who do not use the skills they acquired in college when get a job.

Only 57 percent of college students who worked full-time after college felt their qualification was important for their current job.

Overall, 39 percent of college students in full-time and part-time jobs reported that their skills and education were not fully utilized.

University education 'will pay dividends'

From the figures it is clear that many people who graduate from courses with lower employment prospects end up playing completely different roles.

The five main areas of study for employment in 2018

  • Rehabilitation – 98.5 percent
  • Nursing – 97.8 percent
  • Pharmacy – 97.4 percent
  • Business and administration – 96.5 percent
  • Teacher education – 96.1 percent

The figures show the participation rate in the labor force for each area of study.

So how useful is a long-term college degree to ensure full-time, well-paid employment?

About 73 percent of college graduates were employed four months after graduating in 2018, the best result since 2014.

But 10 years ago, just before the global financial crisis, that number was 85 percent. The survey report says that since the financial crisis, graduates have taken longer to gain a foothold in the labor market.

In the longer term, job prospects are more solid. Three years after graduating in 2018, 89 percent of graduates had found full-time work.

Universities Australia (UA) says the figures are reassuring.

The acting executive director of the UA, Anne-Marie Lansdown, said that the solid results show that university education is still a great investment.

Five areas of study for employment in 2018

  • Science and mathematics: 81.8 percent
  • Psychology: 86.1 percent
  • Humanities, culture and science social – 88.5 percent
  • Communications – 90.4 percent
  • Veterinary science – 90.5 percent

The figures show the participation rate in the labor force for each study area.

"As tens of thousands of students receive offers this week, you can be sure that college education will pay dividends, both professionally and personally," said Ms. Lansdown.

"This survey shows that universities are preparing students well for the world of work, with a record number of employers satisfied with the quality of college graduates.

" These are employers that work with graduates from First hand and its sound support is something that graduates and their universities should be proud of. "

Education Minister Dan Tehan said that university education was still a solid path towards success and prosperity.

"Everyone who received a university offer today should see it as an incredible opportunity and a springboard to realize their ambitions," he said.

The first round offers will be received today in NSW, with other states that will follow next week and WA on January 21.

The federal government has launched the course finder website in which prospective students can further investigate university courses.


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