The first of its kind analysis of tax return data has demonstrated the continuous growth of graduate incomes over the course of their careers and resilience in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
The report found that, immediately upon graduation, the median income for Bachelor degree graduates was $51,200 in 2018. Median income for postgraduate degree graduates was 32 per cent higher at $67,500, while median income for sub-Bachelor degree graduates was 34 per cent lower at $33,800.
Graduates who are over the age of 30 were more likely to earn higher income than younger graduates, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates earned a 14 per cent greater median income compared to their non-Indigenous peers.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the findings demonstrated the employment and income benefits of an Australian university education, especially during times of uncertainty.
“From Australian Bureau of Statistics data, we already know university graduates experience better employment outcomes compared to non-graduates. This analysis further demonstrates how a university qualification proved to be an important safety net during periods of economic uncertainty,” Ms Jackson said.
“We can see that graduate income also made a reliable recovery in the years following the Global Financial Crisis.”
Those with a Bachelor degree experienced steady growth in their income over the decade following their graduation, with the median salary increasing by 88 per cent over the period.
DESE’s analysis found that, even as economic conditions change, university graduates were less likely to be unemployed than non-graduates during economic downturn and ultimately find a secure footing in the labour market in a matter of years following their graduation.
“While there are variances between different fields of study, at the end of the day university graduates make a significant and growing contribution to Australia’s workforce,” Ms Jackson said.
The analysis can be accessed on the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching website.