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Top Uni Graduates Earn Six Per Cent More Over Career


13 October 2014 at 10:20 am
Xavier Smerdon
Bachelor-degree graduates of Australia’s top universities earn about six per cent more over a 40-year career than graduates of Australia’s other universities, a new Grattan Institute report reveals.

Xavier Smerdon | 13 October 2014 at 10:20 am


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Top Uni Graduates Earn Six Per Cent More Over Career
13 October 2014 at 10:20 am

Bachelor-degree graduates of Australia’s top universities earn about six per cent more over a 40-year career than graduates of Australia’s other universities, a new Grattan Institute report reveals.

This is equivalent to graduates with degrees like commerce or science earning about $200,000 more over their working lives.

The report claims that graduates from Sandstone universities – the oldest tertiary institutions in Australia like the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne – and technology universities are the beneficiaries of six per cent higher wages.

Technology universities – including RMIT, Curtin University and Queensland University of Technology – are much lower in international university rankings than sandstone universities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, but this does not seem to matter in the Australian labour market, according to the report.

“Graduates of the technology universities do just as well as those from the more prestigious sandstone universities,” Grattan Higher Education Director Andrew Norton said.

Yet Mapping Australian higher education, 2014-15 also shows that there are larger income gaps between courses than between universities.

“The report shows that when it comes to earnings, what you study matters more than where you study,” Norton said.

For example, a law graduate is likely to make $400,000 more over a career than a science graduate.

“Studying engineering at any university is likely to lead to a higher salary than studying arts at a sandstone university,” Norton said.

Mapping Australian higher education, 2014-15 is the third in an annual Grattan series that puts key facts and analysis about the higher education sector in one report.

It shows that domestic enrolments are growing strongly and in 2014 are likely to exceed a million for the first time.

International enrolments are recovering from a downturn and numbered nearly 330,000 in 2013, with China the single largest source of students.

In 2012 the revenues of Australia’s 40 full universities, and about 130 other higher education providers exceeded $26 billion, making higher education a significant industry.

Mr Norton said the report shows that overall the higher education sector is in good shape.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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