Engineering has one of the best employment outcomes of any profession, according to a recent longitudinal study of graduates from across Australia.
Almost 95 per cent of engineering graduates are in full-time roles three years after graduation — earning them a spot in the top five most employable graduates along with dentistry, medicine and rehabilitation, veterinary sciences, and law.
The 2019 Graduate Outcomes Survey – Longitudinal, a supplement to the annual Graduate Outcomes Survey, tracked a cohort of graduates from 2016 to gauge their employment outcomes three years after graduation. More than 40,000 respondents with degrees from higher education institutions across Australia provided data for the survey.
It found that, across the board, nine in 10 graduates were employed in full-time professional roles three years after graduation, up from seven in 10 in 2016. Median salaries also increased in that time frame, from starting salaries of $58,700 in 2016 to $72,800 after three years in the workforce.
The longitudinal study found the majority of engineering graduates stayed in professional roles within three years after graduation; in 2016, 76.3 per cent reported working in a professional occupation full time, and that rose to 81 per cent by 2019.
Within three years of graduation, 95 per cent of graduates with engineering qualifications had found full-time work, which is up from 78.4 per cent in 2016. The 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey found engineering graduates were also among the highest paid, with a median salary of $65,000 four months after graduation.
While gender pay gaps persisted between 2016 and 2019 for the majority of professions, engineering was one of the few to buck the trend. In fact, it was one of a handful of professions where women earned more than their male counterparts. After three years in the workforce, female engineers earned, on average, $1000 more than their male counterparts.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from late last year supported this, finding that starting salaries for female engineers were higher. However, this lead reversed a few years on as graduates moved into more senior roles within organisations.
At the time, Engineers Australia National President Trish White said this difference could be due to changes within the profession, as more employers were looking for diverse skill sets that incorporated more ‘soft skills’ like communication and collaboration.
She added that diversity is an advantage these days, so more employers are actively recruiting female engineers and offering competitive salaries.
View the full report here.