Graduates three years on

Graduate Careers Australia has released Beyond Graduation 2009, a follow-up survey three years on of graduates they first surveyed in 2006.

A few points of interest on topics of particular interest to me:

* The proportion of their sample who were overseas had doubled from 3.2% to 6.8%, which means that they will not be repaying their HELP debt. People with qualifications in ‘architecture and building’ are most likely to be overseas (12%).

* The graduates in non-graduate jobs generally don’t want to be there, though this is is more true of ‘sales workers’ than ‘clerical and administrative workers’. The second most frequent reason (‘to earn a living’ had a majority response for all occupations) for taking a clerical job was ‘to develop general skills’, but only 7% of sales worker respondents gave that reason. By contrast, 47% of sales workers say they took their job because it was the only one they were offered, compared to 23% of clerical workers.

* Graduates with jobs rated their generic skills development and overall satisfaction with their courses more highly in 2009 than in 2006. However unemployed graduates rated both more negatively. Do graduates see more benefits from their course in hindsight as they get to use more of the skills they learnt, or is this just part of the general tendency to forget bad things that happened in the past?

* A regression analysis that controlled for field of study, occupation, hours worked and age found that being the first graduate in the family (no sibling, parent or grandparent with a degree) was associated with a 2.9% lower income. I’d take this as a pretty good result. In theory, I would expect that lower average school results translating into lower university grades, lower levels of cultural capital and less useful connections would significantly undermine earnings for those without university-educated parents. In practice, the disadvantage is small. Meritocracy wins.

8 thoughts on “Graduates three years on

  1. “The proportion of their sample who were overseas had doubled from 3.2% to 6.8%, which means that they will not be repaying their HELP debt.”
    .
    Not straight away, anyway. No doubt many will return.
    .
    “Graduates with jobs rated their generic skills development and overall satisfaction with their courses more highly in 2009 than in 2006. However unemployed graduates rated both more negatively”
    .
    Which shows why things like the CEQ are not worthwhile — they’re reasonably contimated by outcomes that are not neccesarily related to what was actually taught.

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  2. “People with qualifications in ‘architecture and building’ are most likely to be overseas (12%).”

    I’ll bet they went to Dubai, and came back when the GFC hit.

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  3. Indeed, the UAE is the sixth most popular destination, but only 3% of all those overseas. The UK is by far the most popular, with 46% of graduates who are overseas.

    Conrad – Yes, most will come back. But delayed repayments are costly to taxpayers.

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  4. Conrad – Yes, most will come back. But delayed repayments are costly to taxpayers.

    The skills they learn will benefit the country and their wider view of the world will beneficial Australia’s place in the world.

    Your policy position seems to be based on the cost of everything and the value of nothing. I suppose value is harder to measure.

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  5. Charles – Your policy position seems to be based on the idea that payment and value are inconsistent, which is plainly not true.

    I think it is good that people spend some time working overseas. I regret I did not do so myself when I was young. But there is no reason why going overseas should lead to a debt repayment holiday; no other creditor will see things this way. The main destination country – the UK – collects student debt from its overseas graduates.

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  6. Andrew

    Sometimes it is wise for governments to take a longer term perspective; and a sane method of collecting payment. Australia collects through the tax system, if your working overseas for 12 months you are likely to be gaining international experience but are unlikely to be paying Australian tax.
    .
    I’ve never found the argument; others have messed up, so we should too; very persuasive. If Britain desires to increase the collection cost that really is their problem.
    .
    I read your first sentence as one arguing that value and payment are the same thing, to use your argument, this is plainly not true.

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  7. Charles – I am saying that you can pay for something and value it. Do you only value things given to you or things that you stole?

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  8. Andrew I value a lots of things, love, experience, reading a good article on the internet, although I don’t always agree, I value reading your blog.

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