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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1809

Graduate Employment

(Question No. 626)


Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for Education and Training, in writing, on 14 November 2014:

( 1) In respect of the Deakin University ' s Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation ' s report Australian international graduates and the transition to employment (September 2014), is he aware that the findings illustrate that ( a) the overseas student program needs to be reviewed by the Australian Government to provide greater opportunity for Australian graduates to find work domestically, ( b) the graduate labour market in Australia in the three disciplines of nursing, engineering and accounting is very competitive, ( c) the proportion of bachelor degree graduates employed within four months of completing their courses has fallen to 71.3 per cent, the lowest figure in over 20 years, and what action will the Minister take to address this issue, ( d) shortages for engineers eased significantly in 2012-13 and are now limited to petroleum and mining engineers, and ( e) a slowdown in the mining industry, as well as manufacturing, and subdued activity in construction, are contributing to a weak labour market.

( 2) Does the Minister accept the report ' s findings that employment outcomes for graduate engineers have weakened in recent years with softer market conditions, resulting in graduates competing for work with experienced engineers, with BHP, Rio Tinto and AECOM cutting their graduate intakes.


Mr Pyne: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

( 1) Regarding international education and recent domestic graduate outcomes

(a) International education is a major priority for the Government and has been the subject of a number of reviews in recent years. A discussion paper 'Reform of the ESOS framework' was released on 1 October 2014 to seek views from interested stakeholders on opportunities to improve the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 and associated legislative arrangements. Data from the Graduate Careers Australia's Graduate Destinations Survey shows that from 2008 to 2013 Australian domestic graduates consistently gain employment after graduation at higher rates than international students who graduate and choose to stay on in Australia. Deakin University's research has provided advice on strategies that may enhance employment opportunities for overseas students and graduates in Australia.

( b) Nursing, engineering and accounting graduates experience above average employment outcomes. The Graduate Careers Australia ' s Graduate Destinations Survey shows that in 2013 the proportion of domestic bachelor degree graduates in full-time employment four months after graduation was 83.1 per cent for nursing graduates, 81.7 per cent for engineering graduates and 77.4 per cent for accounting graduates. By way of comparison, the national average full-time employment rate for all domestic bachelor degree graduates was 71.3percent.

( c) The Graduate Careers Australia ' s Graduate Destinations Survey shows that in 2013 the national average full-time employment rate for domestic bachelor degree graduates was 71.3percent. As noted in the report of the Review of the Demand Driven System (page 26)

Holding a bachelor degree continues to provide significant insurance against unemployment. In 2013, 3.4 per cent of people with bachelor degrees were unemployed, compared to 6.6 per cent of people with lower or no post school qualifications.

( d) This is a matter for the Minister for Employment.

(e) This is a matter for the Minister for Employment.

(2) The Graduate Careers Australia's Graduate Destinations Survey shows that engineering graduates continue to experience strong employment outcomes. In 2013, 81.7 per cent of engineering graduates were working full-time four months after graduation, the second highest full-time employment outcome by field of education and over ten percentage points higher than the overall full-time employment rate of 71.3 per cent for all graduates.