Factors influencing job attainment in recent Bachelor graduates: evidence from Australia

Abstract

Favourable graduate employment outcomes are critical for future enrolments in higher education. Enrolments fund higher education providers and ensure a continuous supply of graduates to enhance organisational effectiveness, national productivity and global competitiveness. Recent evidence suggests the global financial crisis has softened graduate labour markets. Stakeholder concerns for graduate career prospects and the adequacy of return on investment from studying at university prompt exploration of those factors which influence graduate employment outcomes. This study tests, using logistic regression, a model of job attainment in recent Bachelor graduates of Australian higher education providers using national data gathered in 2011 (n = 28,246) and 2012 (n = 28,009). Findings indicate employer selection criteria broadly align with our understanding of what constitutes graduate employability, including technical expertise, generic skill mastery and a successfully formed graduate identity. Labour market opportunities, however, are not based on merit alone with employers favouring those graduating from prestigious universities, part-time students and whose study incorporated elements of on-campus learning. There were also noted variations by discipline, age and residency status. The study enhances our understanding of which factors influence graduate employment outcomes and discusses implications for relevant stakeholders.

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Correspondence to Denise Jackson.

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Jackson, D. Factors influencing job attainment in recent Bachelor graduates: evidence from Australia. High Educ 68, 135–153 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9696-7

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Keywords

  • Graduate
  • Job attainment
  • Employment factors
  • Australia
  • Employability