Employment Trends

Australia’s economy recently became the envy of the entire world as it passed Netherlands which, up until then, had the esteemed position of the longest period of sustained economic growth across Western non-Asian countries.

Even in this period of economic prosperity there remain challenges for those graduating universities with the data emphasising that the prospect of gainful employment is far from assured. Education inflation is reducing graduate incomes across the board; in 1990 11% of Yr 12 leavers gained bachelor degrees, in 2013 it was 33%. Additionally, masters degrees are now as common as bachelor degrees when our parents graduated university. This increased competition of graduates is reducing the income achieved when a graduate gains full time employment and it has been on a downward trend since 1977:

Diagram: shows percentage of average full-time male income that a university graduate can expect to earn upon gaining full-time employment. Source: Graduate Careers Australia, ‘Grad Stats 2015’.


Beyond the 25% drop in full time income that a graduate can expect what this fails to address is how long on average it will take a graduate to gain full-time employment. Full-time employment is decreasing across the board in developing countries:

This trend also appears to be accelerating in recent times given the most recent data on full-time versus part-time/casual employment.

“Since December 2015, there are now around 132,700 more persons working part-time, compared with a 69,900 decrease in those working full-time.“ – Jacqui Jones, Head of the ABS’s Labour and Income branch, Nov 2016.

Because of the greater competition and decrease in demand for full-time employees it is now taking university graduates on average 4.7 years to find full-time employment according to Australian Bureau of Statistics Data.

In conclusion university students need to be considering their options to stand out among their competition whilst they are completing their degree, not when it comes to graduation. Upon graduation the landscape they are entering is vastly different to a generation ago and having the skills to pursue results based work or their own business is something that millennials need to have in their toolbox.