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.