More university leavers in Australia are settling for part-time employment: survey

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A worker arrives at his office in the Canary Wharf business district in London, Britain February 26, 2014. Reuters/Eddie Keogh

The global financial crisis is being felt in Australia as it reportedly caused an increased number up to 38 percent of people who graduated from universities to settle for part-time work. A rise of 17 percentage points in the number of university leavers in part-time employment was seen in the past decade, a new graduate outcomes survey has found.

Growth in overall employment was recorded in Australia, but some recent university graduates are still struggling to land a full-time job. One in five of those who left a university worked part-time last year.

The number of recent university leavers in full-time work is still below the levels of the global financial crisis. Employment outcomes for recent graduates were worse compared to that before the GFC.

The survey suggests that it may take three years after leaving the university before the majority of new graduates finally secure a full-time job. In the medium-term, nearly 90 percent of graduates were in full-time work.

Australia’s gender pay gap for undergraduates has narrowed to a record low of 1.9 percent, the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey released by the federal government showed. Two-thirds of respondents said their degree was important or very important to their job.

As for undergraduates, the survey showed that 71.8 percent of them landed a full-time work four months since they left university. That was an increase of 0.9 percentage points since 2016 but remained well below the peak of 85.2 percent in 2008.

Andrew Norton from the Grattan Institute said that the flood of graduates created by Labor's demand-driven system has made the headline figures "worse." Another reason they remained lower was that more people were pursuing further study. Graduates opt to wait for better jobs, which they eventually get.

Norton said there is a slower transition happening. He noted that new graduates are holding out for a decent full-time job four months since they leave their universities. “It is not worth taking just any job at that point when you've still got your student part-time job to keep you going,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports him as saying.

The creative arts with 55.4 percent, science and mathematics with 59 percent, psychology with 60.7 percent and communications with 61.7 percent were the subject areas with the lowest proportion of full-time employment after four months. The survey also revealed a shift to part-time employment, mainly because of the "relatively weak" state of the labour market.

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