Graduate Career Trends in Australian Job Market

Australian Job Market
6 min read

The Australian job market has been impacted by various factors over the past few years, including changes in the economy, technological advancements, hiring practices, and the shift to more flexible work-life considerations.

A range of factors including employment prospects, salary potential, and societal trends are influencing the jobs graduates get and also the jobs and careers they are willing to take on.

In this article, I discuss the state of the Australian jobs market and how it affects graduates.

Overall state of the Australian job market

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate was 4.6% in January 2022, down from 5.5% in January 2021. Despite this improvement, the job market remains competitive, particularly in certain industries.

Industries with strong job growth

According to Seek's Employment Report for February 2022, the industries with the highest job ad growth were:

  • Education and Training
  • Healthcare and Medical
  • Trades and Services
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics.

Industries with declining job growth

On the other hand, the industries with declining job ad growth were:

  • Advertising, Arts, and Media
  • Community Services and Development
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Human Resources and Recruitment.

Graduate job market

The graduate job market in Australia has also been impacted by the factors mentioned above. While some industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, others have continued to hire graduates. According to the GradAustralia 2021 Graduate Survey, the top 10 industries for graduate employment were:

  • Accounting and Advisory
  • Health and Social Assistance
  • Information Technology and Services
  • Public Administration and Safety
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Education and Training
  • Professional Services
  • Government and Defence

Here are some statistics highlighting the employment outcomes for recent Australian graduates:

  • Graduate Outcome Survey: The Graduate Outcome Survey is conducted annually by the Australian government and provides data on the employment outcomes of recent graduates. The survey found that in 2021, the fields with the highest full-time employment rates for graduates were health (89.3%), engineering (88.3%), and education (85.2%). This suggests that employment prospects may be a key factor in the popularity of these fields among graduate students.
  • Job Outlook: Job Outlook is an online resource provided by the Australian government that provides information on the job prospects and salaries of different occupations. According to Job Outlook, the fields with the highest median salaries in Australia in 2021 were dentistry ($117,000), engineering ($105,000), and medicine ($100,000). This suggests that salary potential may be a factor that influences the popularity of these fields among graduate students.
  • International Student Enrolment Data: According to data from the Australian government, in 2021 the top three fields of study for international students in Australia were management and commerce, information technology, and engineering and related technologies. This suggests that societal trends, such as the growing importance of technology and business skills in the global economy, may also influence the popularity of certain fields among graduate students.

Overall, these sources of data suggest that a range of factors, including employment prospects, salary potential, and societal trends, may influence the popularity of different graduate courses in Australia.

What are the most popular graduate courses in Australia?

According to data from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment for the year 2020, the most popular field of study for domestic and international postgraduate students in Australia was Management and Commerce, which includes courses in business and management.

In 2020, there were 99,056 enrolments in postgraduate Management and Commerce courses in Australia.

Examples of popular graduate courses include courses such as the Advanced Diploma of Project Management and the Graduate Certificate in Business Management.

Career choice or unrealistic expectations?

In recent years, there has been a trend of graduates being confident to quit their jobs to find something better.

According to a survey conducted by Graduate Careers Australia in 2022, 65% of graduates were confident in finding a job within six months of graduation, and 47% said they were willing to quit their job within the first six months if they were not satisfied with the role.

This trend is supported by other studies as well. A survey conducted by Seek in 2021 found that 76% of Australians were considering a career change, and 59% of those surveyed said they were willing to take a pay cut for a better job.

The reasons for this trend include a desire for better work-life balance, career progression opportunities, and a lack of job satisfaction. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to reassess their priorities and career goals.

The survey also found that graduates are looking for employers that offer a good work-life balance, career development opportunities, and a supportive workplace culture.

Challenges for graduates

Despite the overall improvement in the job market, graduates still face challenges when it comes to finding employment. The competition for entry-level jobs can be intense, with many graduates vying for a limited number of positions. In addition, some industries may require specific qualifications or experience, making it harder for recent graduates to break into those fields.

Furthermore, the impact of the pandemic has forced many companies to reassess their hiring plans, resulting in a reduction in graduate job opportunities. This has also meant that some employers have cut back on graduate recruitment programs, leaving graduates with fewer options.


Overall, the Australian job market is relatively stable, but there are still areas of concern. While some industries are thriving, others are struggling, and graduates need to be adaptable and willing to explore different options.

The trend of graduates being confident to quit their jobs to find something better reflects a growing desire for career satisfaction and work-life balance among the younger generation.

By networking, gaining relevant experience, and being persistent, graduates can increase their chances of finding meaningful employment in their field.

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