This page belongs to: STEM Equity Monitor

University graduate outcomes for STEM and other fields

University graduates with qualifications at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels report on outcomes after completing their education.

University graduate outcomes

Compare income, employment status and skill use for women and men with qualifications in STEM fields, non-STEM fields and health fields over different years.

Data insights

Skill use

In 2021, similar proportions of employed women and men STEM graduates felt their skills weren’t being fully used in their jobs (41% of women and 39% of men). STEM graduates in full-time employment felt less strongly about this than the overall employee group, with 28% of men and 29% of women saying their skills were underused.

From 2020 to 2021, this feeling increased for employed women graduates in agriculture and environmental studies (by 11%), and engineering (by 7%). However, 26% of women in engineering felt their skills were underused compared to 31% of men.

Agriculture and environmental studies graduates

54% of all employed women thought their skills were underused, up 11% from 2020.  38% of women in full-time work felt this way, up 7% from 2020.

41% of employed men thought their skills were underused, down 2% from 2020. 31% of men in full-time work felt this way, 4% lower than 2020.

Engineering graduates

26% of employed women felt their skills weren’t being fully used, up 7% from 2020. 18% of women in full-time work felt this way, a 4% increase from 2020.

31% of employed men felt their skills were underused, up 2% from 2020. The proportion of men in full-time work who reported this remained steady at 23%.

Other STEM graduates

Women graduates in computing, information systems, science and mathematics reported similar levels of skill underuse than 2020. Their views were similar to men STEM graduates in 2021.

Income

Compared to 2020, the median income gap widened for women STEM undergraduates entering the full-time workforce from agricultural, environmental, science and mathematics fields:

  • For agriculture and environmental studies graduates, the median income for women in 2021 was $60,000, the same as 2020. This was $2,000 less than men in 2020, but $5,000 less than men in 2021.
  • Women graduates in science and mathematics saw their median income drop to $62,000 in 2021 ($3,000 less than men). In 2020 it was $63,000 ($2,000 less than men).

Median incomes for women graduating from engineering, computing and information systems were similar to graduate men’s incomes in 2021.

Women who entered the workforce after completing postgraduate coursework in 2021 earned on average $15,000 less than men for all STEM fields except agriculture and environmental studies. The postgraduate income gap was biggest for engineering, where women’s median income was only 78% of men’s median income.

Part-time work and under-employment

In 2021, the proportion of women STEM undergraduates employed part-time was higher than men. This has been the case every year since 2016.

  • In 2021, 32% of all women STEM undergraduates were employed part-time, compared to 24% of men.
  • 17% of all women STEM undergraduates were employed part-time and seeking more hours, compared to 14% of men.

In 2021, women undergraduates in agricultural, environmental, science and mathematics fields were more likely to be employed part-time and not seeking more hours than men in those fields.

About the data

The Graduate Outcomes Survey defines underemployment as graduates who were usually or actually in paid employment for fewer than 35 hours per week in the week before the survey, and who would prefer to work a greater number of hours.

Graduates of Australian higher education institutions take the Graduate Outcomes Survey approximately 4 months after completing their courses.

The survey provides information on labour market outcomes and graduates’ further study. Graduates employed for 35 hours or more per week are defined as fully employed. ‘All employed graduates’ includes those employed in any capacity at the time of survey.

Read more about our methodology and this data.