Here's when Australian companies look to hire university graduates

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  • Almost 72% of students who completed an undergraduate degree in Australia found full-time employment within four months of graduation last year
  • Total graduate job postings on Indeed’s platform rose by 23% last year following a 19% increase in 2016
  • The highest paid graduates were dentists, while pharmacists were the lowest paid

It’s taking longer for Australian university graduates to find a full-time job than in the past, but the good news is the number of graduate positions being advertised is continuing to increase.

According to data from job search website Indeed, almost 72% of students who completed an undergraduate degree last year found full-time employment within four months of graduation, up from 68% in 2014, but still well below the 85% level in 2008 before the onset of the GFC.

“Since the global financial crisis, it has been more difficult for graduates to gain a foothold in the labour market,” said Callam Pickering, APAC Economist at Indeed, is a post on the group’s blog.

“Younger workers were disproportionately harmed by the global financial crisis. Youth unemployment and underemployment shot up as Australian businesses reduced their annual graduate intake.

“Although progress has been made, the employment numbers among younger workers continue to lag those of the rest of the Australian labour force.”

However, fitting with broader trends seen last year when the Australian economy generated more than 400,000 new jobs, Pickering says that new advertisements for graduate positions grew substantially faster than the overall increase in employment.

“Graduate job postings are increasing strongly, a sign that more Australian businesses are looking to hire newly graduated talent,” he said.

“The number of graduate job postings per million job postings rose 23% in 2017. This is particularly impressive given the improvement in the Australian labour market in 2017, with employment rising 3.3% and the unemployment rate tumbling to a five-year low.”

The 23% increase in 2017 followed a 19% increase in graduate job postings in 2016, suggesting the prospects for new university graduates are improving.

As seen in the table below from Indeed, graduate postings on its platform increased across most professions during the year, led by strong gains for computer programmers, softwear engineers, civil engineers and architects.

Source: Indeed

“Demand for tech graduates is soaring, with job postings for software engineers and computer programmers posting strong gains in 2017,” Pickering says.

“No surprise there given the increasing importance of technology to Australian business operations.”

In terms of the most graduate positions advertised over the year, Pickering said demand for teachers stood head and shoulders above the rest at over 10%.

“Around 10% of graduate job postings are for teachers, with postings for teaching jobs rising 17.5% in 2017. The best time to apply for these jobs is in September and October, a little later than for most graduate roles,” he says.

“For other occupations such as engineering and computer programming, jobs tend to appear online in March and April, with graduate intakes confirmed by mid-year. By comparison, accounting appears to have two hiring seasons — one in March and a second beginning in August.”

Source: Indeed

Based on responses from Indeed’s 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey, measuring perceptions from those who likely graduated in late 2016, Indeed found that Dental graduates received a median salary of $78,300, the highest of all professions monitored.

At the other end of the spectrum, pharmacy undergraduates commanded a median salary of only $44,200, the lowest on the list.

The overall median graduate starting salary stood at $60,000.

Despite having the lowest starting salary, a whopping 95.2% of pharmacy undergraduates found a full-time job within four months of graduation, significantly higher than any other profession surveyed.

Despite the divergence between individual professions, Pickering says that a strong rise in job postings, combined with record employment growth across Australia last year, should lead to a larger share of graduates finding full-time work within four months of graduation.

“Although job-finding success for younger Australians continues to track well below pre-crisis levels, the news for graduates is the best it has been in years,” he says.

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