Graduates from three regional universities including Southern Cross bucked the trend of a COVID-induced labour market downturn in 2019-2020, according to new national data on employment outcomes.
The Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS), part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching program funded by the Federal Government, surveyed more than 120,000 recent university graduates in late 2019 and during 2020.
According to the national report, the great majority of universities saw a fall in undergraduate full-time employment during this period, in line with the overall decline in employment nation-wide. But three regional universities – including Southern Cross – saw employment rates rise. More than three-quarters of recent Southern Cross undergraduates were employed full-time in 2020, placing the University in the top 10 nationally. Southern Cross undergraduates earned a median salary across all disciplines that rose to $65,700 in 2020, well above the national median of $64,700.
While opinions vary as to why regional university graduates are more resilient to employment fluctuations, the GOS report points to the fact that “graduates from regional universities are more likely to be older, study externally and part-time and maintain a continuing connection with the labour market which explains, in part, why graduates from these universities may have fared better in the current downturn.”
Manager of Careers and Employability at Southern Cross Leanne Baker said she was not surprised to see Southern Cross graduates outperform their metro counterparts in employment outcomes. “It’s something we have seen for many years now, not only during COVID and I think points to the fact that our graduates are well prepared for the jobs within and outside of our regions, learning career management skills and having often started to make vital professional connections during their degree.”
“In such a tough labour market, those connections to people and places become an increasingly important part of career success.”
The highest paid undergraduates from all universities in 2020 were working in Dentistry and Medicine with $84,000 and $75,000 median full-time salaries respectively, followed by Teacher Education and Social Work ($70,000), Engineering ($69,500), Rehabilitation, Law, Computing and IT ($65,000), Health Services ($65,100), Nursing ($64,200), Science and Mathematics ($64,000), Psychology ($63,000), Humanities and Social Sciences ($62,600) and Agriculture and Environmental Studies ($61,500).
Read more GOS 2020 survey data here.
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