Australian Bureau of Statistics
4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jul 2012
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/07/2012
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MEDIAN STARTING SALARY OF RECENT BACHELOR DEGREE GRADUATES
In 2011, the median starting salary for recent female graduates, aged less than 25 years and in their first full-time employment, was $50,000, while the median starting salary for the recent male graduates was $52,000.
Information about the earnings of recent university graduates provides a perspective on immediate financial outcomes of higher education. (Endnote 1)
The differences in overall median starting salaries between males and females can be partly explained in terms of the differing enrolment profiles of the males and females. However, there are many other factors that can influence the starting salary differences of males and females. While they may have studied in the same field, differing employment factors such as occupation, type and location of the employer, or the hours worked, can also have an impact on the earnings. (Endnote 2)
The data on graduates' earnings are collected as part of an annual survey (Australian Graduate Survey) conducted by Graduate Careers Australia. The survey gathers data on the employment and further study outcomes of graduates who completed their study in a given year. The data are collected approximately four months after the completion of their respective course of study. The graduates are surveyed in two cohorts, those who completed their study in the first half of the year are surveyed as at 30 October, and those who completed their study in the second half of the year are surveyed as at 30 April in the following year. The salary data for a given year reflect the data for that whole financial year (i.e. 2011 salary data reflect 2010-11 salaries of new graduates as collected in October 2010 and April 2011).
The median starting salaries for both male and female recent Bachelor Degree graduates in 2011 ($52,000 and $50,000 respectively) were similar to starting salaries in 2010. The median starting salary of a male graduate in 2010 was $51,500, and for a female graduate it was $49,500 (in 2010-11 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index). However, the median starting salary for male graduates in 2011 remains below that of 2009, and was only slightly higher for females. The relative lack of increase (compared to previous years) to salaries during 2011 suggests that recruiters have remained cautious in their hiring plans following the global economic downturn. (Endnote 2)
The median starting salary for recent female Bachelor Degree graduates has been consistently lower than their male counterparts in the last 10 years. In 2011, their salary was 96% of the median starting salary of recent male graduates. This difference was the same as the difference in 2010, but greater than in 2005 (97%).
Median starting salary by field of study
The field of study offering the highest median starting salary in 2011 for both male and female recent Bachelor Degree graduates was Dentistry ($80,000 and $75,000 respectively). For females, this has decreased by $2,300 (or 3%) since 2010, but increased for males by $6,300 (or 9%) over the same period. From 2002 to 2011, the median starting salary of female and male Bachelor Degree graduates in the field of Dentistry has increased by 15% (from $65,500 to $75,000) and 10% (from $73,400 to $80,000), respectively.
Female graduates had a higher median starting salary than males in six fields. For example, for female graduates in the field of Physical Science the median starting salary was $3,000 higher than males, and $2,000 higher than males for both Social Sciences and Veterinary Science.
Two fields where female graduates earned less than male graduates were Earth Sciences, and Economics and Business (86% each of median starting salary of males, respectively). These are fields where median starting salaries of female Bachelor Degree graduates have been consistently lower than their male counterparts for the last decade. In 2011, female graduates in the field of Architecture and Building had a median starting salary that was 90% of the median starting salary of male graduates.
Earth Sciences and Optometry are fields where the median starting salaries for both male and female graduates has increased notably over the last decade. Between 2002 and 2011, salaries for male Bachelor Degree graduates in Earth Sciences has increased from $48,000 to $70,000 (up 46%), and from $46,600 to $60,000 (up 29%) for females. With respect to Optometry, the female graduate salary has increased from $54,200 in 2002 to $70,000 in 2011 (up 29%), while the salary of male graduates in this field has increased from $59,400 to $72,000 (up 21%).
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002, Education and Training Indicators, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 4230.0) <www.abs.gov.au>.
2. Graduate Careers Australia, 2011, GradStats: Employment and Salary Outcomes of Recent Higher Education Graduates, 2011, GCA, Melbourne <www.graduatecareers.com.au>.
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This page last updated 29 January 2013