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No jobs for a quarter of 2012 IT graduates Featured

More than 25% of Australian IT graduates from the 2012 academic year did not get jobs in their profession. What's more, those that do have a job are getting paid significantly less than graduates of engineering and other sciences.

Just 74.7% of 2012 computer science graduates are now in full-time employment, down from 77.8% in 2011 and 80% in 2009.

And, at $52,500, the median salary of Computer Science graduates was on par with the overall median graduate salary of $52,000 but significantly less than graduates from Engineering ($63,000), Earth Sciences ($73,000), Medicine ($60,000), Optometry ($79,000) and Dentistry ($80,0000).

The statistics come from Graduate Careers Australia (GCA), which has updated its annual overview of the labour market for new graduates with the release of three new reports; Graduate Destinations 2012, Graduate Salaries 2012 and Graduate Course Experience 2012, using data culled from Australia's universities.

GCA's Policy, Strategy and Stakeholder Relations Adviser Bruce Guthrie told iTWire that IT graduates were largely experiencing similar prospects to other graduates, but growth was on the horizon.

"Some IT graduates are facing tough times, but their prospects are still definitely better than they were say ten years ago," Guthrie said.

"The GFC has affected the recruitment prospects of all graduates, sadly, but things will certainly pick up.

"Some recruiters are being gun shy, looking for long-term signs of activity in the economy, so a lot of the big recruiters don't want to get stuck."

He recommended graduates be proactive in approaching employers, rather than waiting for jobs to come to them, and said that graduates should "set their sights a little wider" when thinking about career paths.

GCA Executive Director Dr Noel Edge said meanwhile that overall, graduate prospects were strong.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that, in the general labour force (aged 15-64), just 2.7% of bachelor degree graduates were unemployed (down from 3.0 per cent in 2011).

Dr Edge added, “Our research also shows that unemployment is not a long-term concern for graduates and it’s important to understand that getting a degree is not just about the first job after university: it’s about a life-time of advantage in the labour market as well as the potential for huge personal growth”.

In 2012, 76.1% of new bachelor degree graduates who entered the full-time labour market after course completion (that is, who were either in or seeking full-time employment) had found a full-time position within four months of course completion.

An additional 15.3% were working part-time and seeking a full-time job and 8.6% not working and seeking a full-time position.

This figure has remained essentially unchanged since 2009 and is down notably from 85.2% in 2008.

Meanwhile In 2012, the median annual starting salary for new Australian resident bachelor degree graduates aged less than 25 and in their first full-time employment in Australia increased to $52,000 from $50,000 in 2011.

This was 77.8% of the annual rate of male average weekly earnings ($66,800 at the time of the survey), down from 78.1% in 2011.

Overall satisfaction with courses as measured by the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) remains at a high level, with 94.1% of bachelor degree graduates expressing broad satisfaction with their higher education experience.

The Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) is conducted annually with all Australian universities, along with a number of smaller private institutions, participating.

In the 2012 AGS, almost 174,000 new domestic graduates were invited to respond to the survey four months after they had completed requirements for their awards and over 105,000 did so, giving a response rate of 60.4%.

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