What’s influencing Australia’s graduate employment landscape?
Every now and then we like to take stock of Australia’s graduate employment landscape and check how the political and economic climate might influence the state of play. With automation and artificial intelligence changing the way we do work, a recovering economy and shifting employer needs, there’s a lot going on!
Here’s an overview of some key factors that may influence the graduate industry:
1. Demand for university graduates is projected to increase
In The path to prosperity: the future of work is human, Deloitte suggests that more than 80% of jobs created between now and 2030 will be for knowledge workers. Job requirements will move from the hands to the head and heart. It’s considered that university graduates will be highly sought after in future for their enhanced cognitive skills and critical thinking.
We’ve been noticing the demand for graduates jump with the number of employers listing opportunities on GradConnection increasing 23% between 2017 and 2018.
2. Renewed policy support to boost university funding
With knowledge workers being the future of work, it’s only natural to expect more funding for universities to boost the number of job-ready graduates.
Since 2017, government funding for university placements has been frozen, meaning enrolments are capped and therefore, supply-driven. This year, the federal opposition recommitted a future Labour government to restoring uncapped university student places, acknowledging the need to ensure Australia’s economy has a smart, skilled and diverse workforce for the future.
3. More graduates are in full-time employment after graduating
There’s been a slow but steady increase in graduate employment after graduation, with 72.9% of undergraduates in full-time employment four months after completing their degree (2018), compared with 70.9% in 2016. What’s promising is that within three years of graduating, the rate of full-time employment jumps to 89.2% for undergraduates.
Postgraduate coursework (86.9%) and postgraduate research (82.3%) graduates are more likely to be in full-time employment within four months of graduating than undergraduates. However, employment prospects still vary greatly between all study areas.
4. Employers are highly satisfied with graduate job readiness
In 2017, Australian universities offered 555,403 workplace experiences to students, demonstrating their commitment to enhancing graduate employability with practical experience. This emphasis on work-integrated learning is also seen to benefit the relationships between universities, graduates and industry.
Employers have remained consistently satisfied with their graduates over the past few years. In 2018, eighty-five per cent of supervisors expressed overall satisfaction with their graduate, when considering attributes like foundation skills, adaptability, collaboration, technical knowledge, and employability.
5. STEM supply and demand
Access to suitable STEM qualifications may be challenging for employers in future. The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business reports that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs are growing faster than other jobs, yet the proportion of Australia’s population aged 20 to 64 with post-school qualifications in STEM has seen a steady decline over the past ten years. With STEM skills considered critically important, we expect to see more support and funding for initiatives that encourage further study in STEM fields.
What does this mean for graduate employment?
Automation and artificial intelligence is changing the nature of work, driving a need for more knowledge workers in possession of critical thinking, innovation and communication skills. We expect the demand for skilled graduates will increase over the next few years, and with university and government support, we hope to see a healthy supply of qualified graduates entering the workforce for years to come.