Release type: Media Release


Survey confirms education can overcome disadvantage


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

A survey of university graduate outcomes five years after university has found most Australian graduates are enjoying employment success and earning high salaries.

The2008 Graduate Pathways Survey: Graduates’ education and employment outcomes five years after completion of a bachelor degree at an Australian universityis the first national study of its kind in Australia.

Prepared by the Australian Council for Educational Research based on survey data provided by 9 238 graduates from Australian universities, the survey found 91 per cent of bachelor graduates from Australian universities were employed five years after graduation.

The median graduate salary rose from $38 000 to $60 000 in the first five years post graduation.

Graduate outcomes and pathways varied for different fields of education, with some graduates taking longer to settle into their careers.

The research also confirms the power of education to overcome economic and social disadvantage. Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved outcomes in line with the general graduate population with 97 per cent of Indigenous graduates in work five years after graduation.

Graduates who were the first in their families to attend university had employment levels consistent with those who had parents with a university education.

This research affirms the need to increase participation of under-represented groups in higher education, particularly students from Indigenous, remote, regional and low-socio-economic backgrounds.

The Australian Government is committed to addressing the intergenerational cycle of educational disadvantage. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds should not be denied the benefits from higher education such as lower levels of unemployment and high salaries.

With greater equity in the higher education system, Australia will gain the knowledge and skills needed to compete with the successful economies of the world.

The report is available at