Education Employment Outcomes

VET graduate employment outcomes

Graphic. 56.0% of VET graduates had an improved employment status after training. Trade apprenticeship or traineeship 85.0% improved employment status. Non-trade apprenticeship or traineeship 73.8% improved employment status. Other training 52.9% improved employment status.

A person has improved their employment status if they were not employed before but employed after, or employed at a higher skill level after training, or received at least one job-related benefit, such as a promotion (or increased status at work), gained extra skills for my job, or an increase in earnings.


What apprenticeships or traineeships are considered to be trades?

There is a wide range of occupations regarded as trades. Some examples are Bricklayers, Hairdressers, General Motor Mechanics, Electricians, Telecommunications Trade Workers, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, Locksmiths, Cabinetmakers and Chefs.

Graduates in Education and Architecture and building commonly reported employability benefits from their study, with more than 65% of these graduates stating they improved their employment status after training.

Creative arts and Information technology graduates reported the least improvements in employment status after graduating (31% and 32% respectively).

Do VET graduates have high earnings?

Workers who hold a VET qualification at the certificate III or higher level generally earn more than those who have not studied after leaving school (see page 44). In 2020, the median annual income for VET Graduates, at the certificate II level or higher, working full-time after completing their training was $60,000. The highest median salaries were for those who studied

  • Education ($78,300)
  • Engineering and related technologies ($62,600)
  • Management and commerce ($61,500)

VET employment outcomes after graduation, 2020*

  Improved employment status after training (%) Median annual income 
Diploma or higher 63.5 $67,100
Certificate IV 64.5 $73,400
Certificate III 58.5 $52,200
Certificate II 42.8 $44,400

*Income figures are for those employed full-time, and are only available for graduates at certificate II and higher level.

Higher education graduate employment outcomes

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the Australian labour market, including graduate employment outcomes. As could be expected, graduate employment rates have declined between 2019 and 2020. The full-time undergraduate employment rate fell from 72.2% to 68.7%, the second lowest result since the 68.1% reported in 2014.

Vocationally oriented study areas (such as Pharmacy, Rehabilitation, Medicine, Engineering and Dentistry) generally have stronger employment outcomes immediately after graduation. Graduates with more generalist degrees (such as Creative arts and Communications) have weaker employment outcomes immediately after graduation, but they do improve significantly over time.

Higher education graduate salaries

In 2020, the median annual full-time starting salary for an undergraduate was $64,700.

Postgraduate coursework graduates had a median starting salary of $87,400 and for postgraduate research graduates it was $93,000.

  • Dentistry (median of $84,400)
  • Medicine ($75,000)
  • Social Work ($70,000)
  • Teacher education ($70,000)

Sources: NCVER, VET Student Outcomes; ABS, Characteristics of Employment; QILT, Graduate Outcomes Survey.