AUSTRALIA: Rise in graduates but not in jobless

Since 1990, the number of Australians completing bachelor degrees has grown by almost 65% yet the proportion of new graduates in full-time employment has remained relatively steady. The booming Australian labour market has been able to absorb the growing graduate numbers without a notable increase in unemployment.

In fact, the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that just 2.4% of people with bachelor degrees are unemployed compared with 7.3% of those who have not completed post-secondary education and 5% of the overall working population.

A survey of 115,000 students four months after they graduated in 2006 found that two-thirds of those working full-time were in professional jobs, 4.5% were in a management or administration role, 11% in a para-professional position and 13.5% in a clerical, sales or service-related job.

Graduates in veterinary science, teaching, health, engineering and architecture were most likely to have been working in an area related to their field, while those with a double degree were more likely to have found full-time employment than those only one degree.

The annual survey is conducted by Graduate Careers Australia. A report of the survey revealed that of new bachelor degree graduates who were seeking full-time employment, 82% had found it within four months of completing their studies. A further 12% were working on a part-time or casual basis while still seeking full-time employment and 5.5% were not working or seeking a full-time job.

A second survey of companies based in Australia and New Zealand found that the criteria used by employers in recruiting graduates included inter-personal and communication skills, critical reasoning and analytical skills, and passion plus knowledge of the industry they were seeking to work in.

More on the Graduate Careers Australia site