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University graduate outcomes for STEM and other fields

University graduates with undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications 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 2022, similar proportions of employed women and men graduates in each STEM field felt their skills weren’t being fully used in their jobs. The largest difference between genders was in agricultural and environmental studies, where 47% of employed women graduates felt they weren’t using their skills, compared to 38% of men employed graduates.

A smaller proportion of STEM graduates in full‑time employment felt their skills were not being used compared to all employed graduates. This suggests graduates who are employed on another basis, such as casual, are more likely to feel their skills aren’t being used.

From 2021 to 2022, this feeling decreased for employed women graduates in each of the STEM fields. For agriculture and environmental studies the decrease was 6 percentage points (53% to 47%). It was 2 percentage points for each of:

  • computing and information systems (28% to 26%)
  • engineering (26% to 24%)
  • science and mathematics (59% to 57%).


Median full-time income for STEM graduates increased in all undergraduate STEM fields from 2021 to 2022. The largest increase was in agricultural and environmental studies, where median income increased from $60,000 in 2021 to $70,000 in 2022. For men graduates in this field it increased from $63,000 to $70,000.

The median full-time income gap between men and women decreased for all undergraduate STEM fields from 2021 to 2022. Across all STEM fields, women earned an average of $1,000 less than men in 2022, compared to $2,000 less in 2021.

The income gap was larger for STEM graduates in the postgraduate coursework group. Across all STEM fields, women earned an average of $10,000 less than men in 2022, compared to $11,000 less in 2021.

The postgraduate income gap was largest for engineering, where women’s median income was $17,000 lower than men’s, or about 84% of the median men’s income.

Part-time work and under-employment

In 2022, the proportion of women undergraduates employed part-time was equal to or higher than men in each of the STEM fields. This has been the case for every STEM field almost every year since 2016. The exceptions were engineering in 2016 and 2020 and computing and information systems in 2017 and 2019.

The proportions of women in STEM fields who are working part-time and want more hours have decreased over time. The largest decreases were in:

  • agricultural and environmental studies, where the proportion seeking more hours dropped from 26% in 2020 to 21% in 2021 and 14% in 2022
  • science and mathematics, which dropped from 28% in 2020 to 24% in 2021 and 18% in 2022.

About the data

The Social Research Centre’s 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. The labour force classification used in the survey aligns with that used by Australian Bureau of Statistics – the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

Read more about our methodology and this data.