Grad job rates decline… but not for pharmacists


Pharmacy degrees have secured strong employment for graduates, even in 2020 – and the lowest salary of all grads

The latest Graduate Outcomes survey has found that graduate pharmacists were highly likely to be in full-time employment in 2020 by four months after the completion of their studies.

Graduate employment rates declined between 2019 and 2020, with the report noting the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.

In 2019, 95.7% of pharmacy graduates had a full-time job by the end of the fourth month; in 2020 this rose 0.7% to 96.4%.

Overall employment for pharmacy grads was down, however, from 97.5% in 2019 to 95.8% in 2020.

Labour force participation rates were 98.5% in 2019 and 96.3% in 2020.

Also highly likely to be in full-time work by the end of four months were those who had studied medicine (86.7% – down from 91.1% in 2019) and engineering (83%, down from 84.8%).

Dentistry grads were next in line, with 80% in full-time work, down from 86.2% in 2019.

At the other end of the spectrum, only 45.8% of people who had studied creative arts were in full-time employment in 2020 – though 87.7% were still active in the workforce – a drop from 52.9% in 2019 (and 90.7% in the workforce).

Overall, only 68.7% of graduates across all fields were in full-time work by four months in 2020, compared to 72.2% in 2019; graduates were still participating in the workforce, however, with 91.4% active in 2020 compared to 92.4% in 2019.

But new pharmacists had the lowest salaries of all graduates (reflecting their intern year).

“Median undergraduate full-time salaries in 2020 ranged between study areas from a high of $84,000 down to $49,600, with a standard deviation of $7,800,” the report notes.

“The areas with the highest graduate salaries were Dentistry at $84,000, Medicine $75,000, Social work $70,000, Teacher education $70,000, and Engineering $69,500.

“The study areas with the lowest full-time median undergraduate salaries were Pharmacy at $49,600, Creative arts $52,000, Tourism, hospitality, personal services, sport and recreation, $53,500 and Communication, $55,600.”

There was no gap between male and female graduate salaries in the pharmacy sector, though the report notes that these gaps ranged from $2,800 in science and mathematics, up to $10,700 in the field of dentistry, both in favour of males.

Social work and engineering were exceptions, the report noted, with female graduates earning the same as or more than their male counterparts.

The report also found that 9.6% of pharmacy graduates were taking on further full-time study, compared to 37.3% of those who graduated with science and maths degrees, and 3.1% of graduate nurses.

And satisfaction was up: 83.7% of graduate pharmacists expressed satisfaction with their studies, up from 80.5% in 2019.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the results served as further evidence the Government’s Job-ready Graduates package would help Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.

“The Job-ready Graduates package will provide more university places for Australian students, make it cheaper to study in areas of expected job growth and provide more funding and support to regional students and universities,” Mr Tehan said.

“It encourages students to choose a degree in areas of national priority including teaching, nursing and STEM, which will deliver them better employment outcomes and assist our economic recovery from the pandemic.”

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