Employers Have Never Been More Satisfied With Uni Graduates

Australian employers have recorded their highest ever levels of satisfaction with the skills of university graduates and their ability to make an immediate impact in the workplace, latest official data finds.

The 2021 Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS) – published today by Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching – finds 85.3 per cent of direct supervisors are satisfied with their new graduate employees, up from 84.7 per cent in 2020 and the highest since the survey began in 2016.

Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the result is a testament to the hard work of both students and universities.

“This is a truly outstanding result and demonstrates how, even in the middle of a global pandemic, universities are producing graduates who are work-ready, highly employable and able to hit the ground running in the workplace,” she said.

“It’s a powerful endorsement from direct supervisors in the workplace, who see a graduate’s skills in action first-hand, that Australia’s universities are preparing students to succeed in the world of work.”

More than eight out of ten graduates (84.6 per cent) and nine out of ten supervisors (92.1 per cent) thought the university qualification prepared the graduates for their current jobs.

Ms Jackson said: “The survey draws a strong connection between skills and knowledge acquired by university students and the requirements of their jobs after graduation.”

“The survey results also illustrate the resilience of students and staff. Universities have worked hard to support students during one of the toughest learning environments we’ve ever seen.”

“Universities have focused on ensuring the next generation of graduates is equipped to contribute to Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery,” Ms Jackson said.

“Employers appear less satisfied overall with undergraduates, 84.8 per cent, than with postgraduate coursework graduates, 85.5 per cent, and postgraduate research graduates, 87.6 per cent. Supervisors rated postgraduate coursework graduates slightly lower than undergraduates for most attributes,” the report said/

“This difference is significant for Collaborative skills, where employers rated postgraduate coursework graduates at 87.2 per cent compared with 91.4 per cent for undergraduates. This may be attributed to a high proportion of postgraduate coursework graduates studying externally and so not engaging as much in student centred collaborative learning activities.

“Similarly, employers rated postgraduate coursework graduates lower than postgraduate research graduates for all attributes. Employer satisfaction with postgraduate research graduates is significantly higher in terms of Adaptive skills, compared to graduates at the postgraduate coursework or undergraduate level.”

The employer satisfaction survey also found:

  • 93.5 per cent satisfaction with foundation skills – general literacy, numeracy and communication skills and the ability to investigate and integrate knowledge.
  • 90.3 per cent satisfaction with adaptive skills – the ability to adapt and apply skills/knowledge and work independently.
  • 89.3 per cent satisfaction with collaborative skills – teamwork and interpersonal skills.
  • 93.7 per cent satisfaction with technical skills – application of professional and technical knowledge and standards.
  • 86.6 per cent satisfaction with employability skills – the ability to perform and innovate in the workplace.

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