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Survey shows mixed outcomes for IT graduates

Despite the supposed 'skills shortage,' IT graduates fare only slightly better than average in terms of employment, and a surprisingly large proportion find themselves in jobs where their degree isn't important.

Graduate Careers Australia produces regular reports on graduate employment. One of its more recent efforts is a follow-up survey three years after graduation, and the most recent report - Beyond Graduation 2012 - has just been published.

With the assistance of 39 institutions, nearly 13,000 usable responses were received from 2008 graduates.

Of those available for full-time employment at the time of the survey, 92.2% were working full time. That was up from 79.3% when the same cohort was surveyed in 2009, shortly after they graduated.

IT graduates do slightly better than average, with 93.4% working full time.

And while female IT graduates started off behind their male peers (76.6% vs 82.7% in 2009), their relative position has improved and in 2012 they were slightly more likely to be in full-time employment (93.9% vs 93.2%).

But only 70.2% of IT graduates said their degree was either a formal requirement or important to their main paid job. The only broad area of study with a lower percentage was creative arts (64.3%).

IT graduates were also the least likely to be in a relevant job shortly after completing their course.


Other findings included:

• IT graduates' average working hours were close to average (41.7 hours vs 42.0 hours)

• 14.8% of employed IT graduates were actively seeking other employment (one of the lowest proportions across areas of study)

• IT graduates were relatively unlikely to have completed an additional qualification (25.3% compared with 33.1% overall)

• The median salary of IT graduates exceeded that of graduates as a whole in 2009 ($53,000 vs $50,000), and pulled further ahead over the following three years ($74,000 vs $66,000) - an increase of 39.6% compared with 32.0% for the entire cohort.

• Male IT graduates' median salary was higher than their female peers ($75,000 vs $67,000), even though the reverse was true shortly after graduation ($52,000 vs $55,000).

Beyond Graduation 2012 is available here [PDF].


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.