QUT architecture students Hannah Hanafi and Abbey Morgan-Short. Picture: AAP/David Clark
QUT architecture students Hannah Hanafi and Abbey Morgan-Short. Picture: AAP/David Clark

Top universities to graduate with high-paying job

THE university you attend can influence your starting salary by as much as $10,000, according to a new Federal Government report to be ­released today.

The 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey reveals nine in 10 university leavers are working full-time and earning an average salary of $70,000 within three years of graduating.

But the career and salary prospects of graduates vary widely depending on their course and university.

Despite the massive push to get school leavers enrolling in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) degrees, the report reveals science and mathematics graduates have some of the weakest employment rates.

Less than half the students who graduated in science and maths in 2014 were found to be working full-time within four months of graduating, and 14 per cent were still not in full-time work this year. In contrast, 96 per cent of pharmacy graduates were employed full-time by 2015, while 93 per cent of medical students secured full-time jobs almost immediately.

The difference in starting salaries between Queensland universities.
The difference in starting salaries between Queensland universities.

Across Queensland, employment rates and starting salaries varied considerably, with Central Queensland University delivering some of the largest pay packets.

In 2018, three years after graduating, CQU alumni from 2014 who were working full-time were earning on average $77,200, compared with graduates from Bond University and Australian Catholic University, who had average full-time wages of $67,000.

QUT architecture students Hannah Hanafi and Abbey Morgan-Short. Picture: AAP/David Clark
QUT architecture students Hannah Hanafi and Abbey Morgan-Short. Picture: AAP/David Clark

While full-time employment rates across all study disciplines narrowed over the three years between 2015 and 2018, the study revealed the gap between the highest salaries and lowest salaries widened from $44,200 in 2015 to $53,100 in 2018. Graduate teachers experienced the slowest wage growth to 2018, while dentistry graduates had the highest average salaries in both 2015 and 2018.

The report also revealed the continuation of an alarming gender pay gap. After three years in the workforce, females were earning less than male graduates in all study areas other than engineering and agriculture.

 

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch

 

 

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the report revealed the economy was strong, and more graduates were entering the workforce.

"With so many jobs being created, it's no surprise university graduates are in demand with a higher education qualification proving to be a solid pathway to employment," he said.

The Government will today launch the new Course Seeker website, which will allow ­students to compare and apply for more than 7000 higher education courses online.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said the jobs picture for graduates was looking strong as the labour market continued to pick up.

QUT students Abbey Morgan-Short, 22, and Hannah Hanafi, 23, who both study ­architecture, said they never realised salaries varied so widely between universities.

"I think it is unfair," Ms Morgan-Short said. "I do think it should come down to your personal ability versus what uni you've come from."