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4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2013  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/01/2013   
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MEDIAN STARTING SALARY OF BACHELOR DEGREE GRADUATES (a)(b)(c), Aged less than 25 years in their first full-time employment




(a) To capture all graduates in a particular year, mid year graduates are surveyed at October 31 of that year, and end of year graduates are surveyed at April 30 the following year. For example, 2012 earnings data is based on students who completed studies in mid 2011, and those who completed studies at the end of 2011.
(b) Salary data may include additional payments such as overtime and bonuses. Figures therefore do not necessarily reflect award rates. An example is the case of medical graduates, whose base salary is increased markedly by overtime payments.
(c) In 2011–12 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Source: Graduate Careers Australia, 'GradStats', Melbourne.



In 2012, the median starting salary for recent female graduates, aged less than 25 years and in their first full-time employment, was $50,000. The median starting salary for recent male graduates was $55,000.

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 males and females. However, there are many other factors that can influence starting salary differences. While males and females 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)

Data on graduate earnings are collected as part of an annual survey (Australian Graduate Survey (AGS)) conducted by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA). The survey gathers data on the employment and further study outcomes of graduates who completed their study in a given year.

The median starting salary for male and female recent Bachelor Degree graduates in 2012 was $55,000 and $50,000 respectively. After adjusting salary data for changes in the Consumer Price Index, this represents a change of 13% for male graduates and 8% for female graduates since 2003.

Graph: Median starting salaries of recent Bachelor Degree graduates aged less than 25 and in their first full-time employment, 2003 to 2012

To be included in the AGS, respondents need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged under 25, and have completed a bachelor degree or three-year undergraduate diploma. Respondents must have identified secondary school as their highest previous education qualification, and have provided valid data regarding their salary, sex, field of education and level of award in the survey. Data are collected approximately four months after the completion of their respective course of study. The graduates are surveyed in two cohorts, those who complete 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. 2012 salary data reflect 2011-12 salaries of new graduates as collected in October 2011 and April 2012).

The 2012 AGS collected information on the salaries of 12,759 graduates. Males comprised 38.5% (or 4,911) and females comprised 61.5% (or 7,848) of this sample. Over the past ten years, the total AGS graduate salary sample has ranged between 12,343 and 15,062 graduates. The number of male graduate salary sample over the past ten years has ranged between 4,243 and 5,461, and between 7,848 and 9,601 for the female graduate salary sample.

2012 data for this commentary have been sourced from the AGS preliminary report, and provide indicative differences between the starting salaries of men an women. (Endnote 2) A subsequent report which provides statistical analysis on 2012 data (including significance testing for differences in salaries) is expected to be released later in 2013 on the GCA website (see Endnote 3 for the reports featuring 2010 and 2011 data).
Median starting salary by field of study

Analysis of differences between median starting salaries for male and female graduates should be performed with caution, as some fields of study (e.g. Optometry, Dentistry, Earth Sciences) tend to have low response numbers, and the difference obtained from the AGS may not actually exist for the overall graduate population. Further statistical analysis on 2012 data is expected in the subsequent AGS report to be released later in 2013.

Graph: Median starting salaries of recent bachelor degree graduates, by field of study, 2012

However, for 2012 salary data, some fields of study are likely to continue to provide significant gender differences in graduate salaries (based 2010 and 2011 analysis of AGS salary data by GCA) (Endnote 3). Such fields include Architecture and Building ($52,000 for males and $43,000 for females in 2012), Law ($55,000 for males and $50,700 for females), Economics and Business ($50,000 for males and $47,000 for females), and Paramedical Studies ($53,000 for males and $52,000 for females).


1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002, Education and Training Indicators, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 4230.0) <>.
2. Graduate Careers Australia, 2012, GradStats: Employment and Salary Outcomes of Recent Higher Education Graduates, 2012, GCA, Melbourne <>.
3. Graduate Careers Australia, 2012, Graduate Salaries: A Report on the Earnings of New Australian Graduates in their First Full-Time Employment, 2010 and 2011, GCA, Melbourne <>


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