Employers Reveal What They Look For In University Grads

Getting a diploma doesn’t guarantee employment. Employers revealed in a national survey what they look for in the current and future hiring pol.

Australian employers are most interested in hiring university graduates who have a specific knowledge set, according to the largest satisfaction survey of its kind.

The QILT 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey report revealed this year that employers were more impressed with students and graduates who pursue vocationally-oriented courses, rather than broader and more generalised degrees.

The report said business supervisors were overall more satisfied with Engineering,

Health, Architecture and Building, and Education graduates with 90%, 89%, 87% and 85% respectively.

While still high, employer satisfaction dropped almost 10% for graduates with more generalist degrees such as Agriculture, Environmental and related studies, Management and Commerce both with 80% satisfaction and Creative Arts, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Society and Culture at 81%.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey results were encouraging but also reinforce the need to ensure our higher education institutions are focused on the work readiness of graduates.

“Australia has excellent universities but they must place student outcomes at the forefront of their considerations to meet the needs of our economy, employers and ultimately boost the employment prospects of graduates,” he said.

“These are the types of signals universities should be looking out for to ensure course offerings are aligned with the expectations of employers so as to ultimately improve the job prospects of graduates.”

Employer satisfaction for where a graduate and prospective job applicant studied was also a factor in the survey, and Mr Birmingham said overall employer satisfaction levels for some institutions over the 90% mark and others down as low as 77%.

While the bigger institutions like the University of Queensland (87.5%) and the University of Melbourne (87.1%) ranked higher for employers’ overall satisfaction, it was Australia’s smaller universities that appealed to them more.

The highest ranking universities for employer satisfaction were James Cook University (90.6%), The University of Notre Dame Australia (89.1%) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (88.8%).

The University of Southern Queensland ranked the lowest for satisfaction at 77.4%.

“Data such as this is vital in arming students with the necessary information on the performance of institutions and how courses are viewed by prospective employers to help them make more informed choices on what career paths to follow,” Mr Birmingham said.

The QILT 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey was conducted as part of a government initiative which surveyed 4,348 employers across the country about the attributes of recent graduates from higher education institutions.

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).