Australian bosses have given engineering graduates top marks for the second year running.
This is according to the 2020 Employer Satisfaction Survey, which found employers’ overall satisfaction with engineering graduates was 90.5 per cent.
Released last week, the survey looked at the quality of education provided by Australian institutions by asking supervisors to provide feedback on the generic skills, technical skills and work readiness of the graduate employed in their workplace.
Engineers Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said the excellent result reflected the emphasis institutions put on preparing students for their transition from university to work, and its close links with industry.
“Increasingly, the 35 university members of the Australian Council of Deans (ACED) have adopted project-based learning and increased attention to students’ collaboration and communication skills,” she said.
“Engineering faculties and schools also have industry advisory committees that assist in ensuring that the programs are delivering to industry’s current and prospective expectations.”
Engineering and related technologies graduates came in ahead of agriculture and environmental studies graduates (88.3 per cent satisfaction), education graduates (87.6 per cent), information technology graduates (87 per cent) and health graduates (86 per cent).
It comes after the 2019 survey, where engineering students also came out ahead. Professor Ian Burnett, President of ACED and Executive Dean of Engineering and IT at the University of Technology Sydney, said it was pleasing to see engineering and related technologies at the top of the ratings once again.
“This excellent outcome is a tribute to the graduates and their teachers, and rewards the level of industry engagement and the development of authentic technical and professional skills within our engineering degrees,” he said.
“Many of the projects undertaken by students are linked to industry. Students are required to gain industry experience and reflect on this using the graduate competency framework of the professional accreditation process operated by Engineers Australia, with whom ACED works closely.”
The report follows on from the Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted last year, which found 84.4 per cent of the previous year’s engineering graduates found full-time employment.
This was 12 per cent higher graduates from all other undergraduate programs. Engineering graduates also had the highest median remuneration of all fields, after medicine and dentistry, with women engineers earning slightly more than their male peers.
“An engineering degree is a platform for lifelong learning,” Dr Evans said.
“Engineers possess complex problem-solving skills that are useful in a range of business contexts, not just technology, making them desirable and valuable employees.”
While bosses rated engineering students highly, the 2020 Student Experience Survey showed a significant drop in the overall rating of Australian universities by students.
Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge acknowledged the results had been impacted by COVID-19, but said institutions ‘can and should be doing better’.
“I want all universities to focus on their main purpose: educating Australians and giving them the skills and qualifications that will get them into a job,” he said.
“Some of our universities have lost that focus and it’s time to return to core business.”
Just last month the QS World University Rankings were released, with 11 Australian institutions making it into the top 200.