Best uni degrees to get you a job
Teaching and pharmacy degrees are proving to be recession-proof, despite the COVID-19 pandemic making it harder for most university graduates to find full-time work.
The arts, media, tourism and hospitality sectors have been ravaged by the COVID-19 recession, with barely half of last year's graduates finding a job within four months of finishing uni.
An exclusive News Corp Australia analysis of the latest official data on graduate employment reveals that 68.7 per cent of last year's university graduates found work within four months - down from 72.2 per cent the year before.
But some jobs are virtually recession-proof, the federal Education Department's Graduate Outcomes Survey reveals.
Among pharmacy graduates, 96.4 per cent found full-time work soon after graduating - thanks to paid internships that require students to work for a year to become fully qualified.
Teaching, too, is a recession-proof career, with 80.6 per cent of last year's teaching graduates finding full-time work within months of leaving uni.
And 83 per cent of engineering graduates found full-time work this year, down only slightly from 84.8 per cent last year.
Engineers Australia chief executive Dr Bronwyn Evans said there was consistent demand for graduate engineers.
"One of the great attractions of the profession is the huge variety of tasks and environments in which engineers find themselves working,'' she said.
"From designing buildings or spacecraft to leading project teams or combating the effects of climate, engineers are everywhere.''
Structural engineer Kate Upton secured a job with Jacobs in Brisbane soon after graduating from the University of Queensland last year, and is helping design a new hospital in Caboolture.
"I was interested in architecture but wanted more of the maths and technical side at work, so I studied engineering," Ms Upton said.
"I love the challenges - you have to find a new solution for each issue and you get to work with different teams, problem-solving.
"One of the highlights is that I'm not doing the same thing every day and there are always new challenges with such a broad area of work.''
The Education Department survey shows that practical degrees have the brightest job prospects.
"Graduates from more vocationally oriented study areas tend to have greater success in the labour market immediately upon graduation,'' the report says.
"Workers in service-type activities like the events and entertainment industries have been most impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.''
Despite the pandemic, medicine and nursing graduates are finding it harder to get full-time work this year, as hospitals focus on
COVID-19 cases and non-urgent surgery and treatments are postponed.
Only 86.7 per cent of medicine graduates had full-time work within four months this year - down from 91.1 per cent last year.
More than a quarter of nursing graduates did not find a full-time job immediately, with employment rates falling from 76.3 per cent last year to 72.7 per cent this year.
Only 61.4 per cent of psychology gradates found full-time work straight after uni - down from 63.4 per cent last year.
Engineering, law and business management degrees have been less affected by the COVID-19 recession.
Business and management degrees delivered full-time jobs for 74.3 per cent of graduates this year - down from 76.6 per cent.
Three out of four law and paralegal graduates have found full-time work, with the employment rate dropping from 77.3 per cent to 75.7 per cent this year.
Science, maths and computing - the fields where industry is constantly complaining about skills shortages - have some of the lowest levels of full-time employment.
Only 59.1 per cent of science and maths graduates found full-time work this year - down from 63.4 per cent last year.
Nearly a quarter of computing and information technology (IT) graduates were still looking for full-time work, four months after graduation.
Their employment rate fell from 75.9 per cent last year to 72.1 per cent this year.
But when part-time work is included, 82.9 per cent of IT graduates and 81.7 per cent of science and maths graduates had found employment, reflecting the popularity of contract and consulting work in hi-tech professions.
Other professions with high full-time employment rates are dentistry (80 per cent, down from 86.2 per cent), rehabilitation (87.3 per cent, down from 92.4 per cent) and veterinary science (78.2 per cent, down from 81.9 per cent).
The federal government will make it cheaper for students to study university degrees in science, computing, teaching, nursing and psychology next year - although arts and law degrees will cost more.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the change would make it easier for graduates to find work, and help Australia's economic recovery.
"It encourages students to choose a degree in areas of national priority including teaching, nursing and STEM, which will deliver them better employment outcomes and assist our economic recovery from the pandemic,'' he said.
Originally published as Best uni degrees to get you a job