Graduates and their job prospects are a hot topic in the news at the moment. If you’ve completed a degree, you may have already heard about the Graduate Outcomes Survey - there’s every chance you’ve been contacted to take part.
If it’s not something you’re familiar with, each year – about four months after graduation – undergrads and postgrads are contacted to find out about where they are work-wise. Results of the survey help universities gauge the success of their courses, programs and services in preparing students for the workplace.
Typical questions that get asked include:
- Are you currently in work related to your degree?
- Are you working full-time or part-time?
- What are you earning?
- Are you working but in work that is unrelated to your degree?
- Are you continuing to study?
As a university careers team, we would always encourage graduates to participate in this survey. Not only is it useful for universities themselves, it provides insight into the next batch of grads about to embark on their own careers. It can be extremely valuable for your own future career planning to find out where your classmates ended up working.
Interpreting the Results
Whether you’re a student or a graduate, if you find that you are in a degree/have a degree that doesn’t look like it’s currently in high demand, don’t panic.
Arts degrees, for example, appear to have been consistently toward the bottom of the rankings in Australia since the beginning of time! However, it can pay to scrutinise the information and check the numbers of students in your degree who have engaged with the survey.
Often, students who do start working in their field dismiss the survey and the figures may not truly reflect the reality. Other students may be working under job titles that don’t appear to reflect the skills required and the results can be skewed. For example, an ‘Admin Officer’ might be predominately using skills and knowledge derived from a Mass Comms degree.
Keep up with your field
One often forgotten, but important factor, in what plays a part in future employability is you and your aspirations. It always helps to be realistic, resourceful and resilient!
You have a major role to play in ensuring that you’re attractive to employers and the types of organisations that you want to work for. Be confident that your skills can be readily applied to your chosen field/area.
If you can see that the economy is not performing as well or that there seems to be less jobs going in the industry or discipline that you see yourself in, take the time to look at alternative ways to still get into your field. It might not happen immediately but a winding path can still lead to the same door.
While you’re still at uni, being knowledgeable early on about your chosen pathway can put you at a distinct advantage. Knowing that you’ve found the degree that fits you best is also imperative.
Even though the world of work is changing, employers still want to recruit the best graduate for the position and this means knowing yourself and knowing your stuff.
As a Curtin student, accessing the Know My Industry module online through Curtin Challenge could give you some additional ideas!