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Friday, 30 March 2012 23:31

Three years on, IT graduates fare relatively well


Studying IT at university may still be a decent career bet, judging by the findings of a long-term survey.

Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) has followed up on people who graduated in 2008, and it turns out that former IT students are doing well in terms of employment.

When GCA initially surveyed 2008 graduates, those who had studied IT had a less than average chance of being in full-time employment. Just 80.6% were in full time work, compared with an average of 83.2%. (Unless otherwise noted, all percentages reflect the proportion of those available for full time work.)

Standouts at that time were health (93.3%), engineering (93%), and architecture and building (93%).

But when the cohort was resurveyed last year, the situation was quite different. Overall 92.8% of graduates were working full time. That's still an unacceptable level of unemployment or under-employment, but roughly seven in every 100 is better than 17 in a hundred.

IT graduates had one of the highest levels of employment (97.0%) three years after graduation. They were just beaten by engineers (97.2%), but heath (94.4%) and architecture and building (94.5%) graduates failed to maintain their ranking.

Page 2: Gender differences - maybe not what you were expecting.


The survey also showed that not only did female IT students fare worse than their male counterparts in terms of getting full-time work immediately after graduation (73.0% vs 82.2%), they only narrowed the gap over the next three years (92.1% vs 98.0%). The disciplines where females outperformed males on this measure were natural and physical sciences (90.1% vs 88.8%), society and culture (90.9% vs 89.6%) and creative arts (88.0% vs 86.7%).

Not only did IT graduates perform well in terms of being employed, they're also pulling in good salaries. While any single statistic can hide considerable variation, a median 2011 salary of $75,000 puts them almost at the top of the tree, just behind engineers ($76,000). The median 2011 salary for 2008 graduates as a whole was $66,000.

The good news for female IT graduates is that their median salary was exactly the same as their male counterparts. That was only the case for IT graduates, with females from other disciplines earning lower salaries than their male peers.

The overall median was $72,000 for males and $64,500 for females. The biggest gap was for heath graduates ($14,500), possibly due to the high proportion of women in nursing.

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Stephen Withers

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.

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