Education Employment Outcomes

VET graduate employment outcomes

77.3% of VET graduates employed six months after training

Trade apprenticeship or traineeship
91.2% employed

Non-trade apprenticeship or traineeship
77.3% employed

Training not an apprenticeship/traineeship
76.5% employed

What apprenticeships or traineeships are considered to be trades?

There is a wide range of occupations regarded as trades. Some examples are constructions trades workers, hairdressers, mechanics, metal trades workers, electricians, telecommunications workers, aircraft maintenance engineers, locksmiths, cabinetmakers and chefs.

VET graduates employed (full-time or part-time) 6 months after training, by field of education, 2018 (%)

OccupationEmployed after training (%)
Architecture and Building88.4
Engineering and Related Technologies85.2
Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies83.7
Management and Commerce79.3
Food, Hospitality and Personal Services73.7
Society and Culture73.2
Natural and Physical Sciences70.8
Creative Arts62.1
Information Technology51.7

Do VET graduates have high earnings?

Workers who hold a VET qualification at the certificate III or higher level earn more than those who have not studied after leaving school. In 2018, the median annual income for VET graduates working full-time six months after completing their training was $56,600. The highest salaries were for those who studied

In 2018, the median annual income for VET graduates working full-time six months after completing their training was $56,600. The highest salaries were for those who studied

  • Engineering and Related Technologies ($63,800)
  • Education ($62,400)
  • Architecture and Building ($60,200)

Higher level VET qualifications provide better outcomes

Generally, higher level qualifications lead to stronger employment outcomes and higher incomes. Although employment outcomes are relatively low for those with a certificate I, this level of qualification can be a pathway to further study and attainment of higher qualifications and therefore stronger employment outcomes.

VET employment outcomes 6 months after graduation, 2018

VET employment outcomes 6 months after graduation, 2018*
Level of education Employed (%) Median annual income
Diploma or higher 77.9 $60,000
Certificate IV 84.2 $65,000
Certificate III  76.5 $50,500
Certificate II 68.8 $53,700
Certificate I 47.4 $50,000

*Employment figures are for graduates employed full-time or part-time. Income figures are for those employed full-time.

Higher education graduate employment outcomes

While higher level qualifications ultimately improve employment prospects, employment outcomes for students immediately after graduation have weakened over the past decade. Positively, though, outcomes have now been improving for the last four years (see chart below). In 2018, 72.9% of bachelor degree graduates (available for full-time work) found full-time employment four months after graduation.

Bachelor degree graduates employed full-time 4 months after graduation, 2008 to 2018 (%)


Vocationally oriented study areas (such as Pharmacy, Medicine, Rehabilitation, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and Teacher Education) generally have stronger employment outcomes immediately after graduation. Graduates with more generalist degrees (such as Creative Arts and Communications) have weaker employment outcomes immediately after graduation, but they do improve significantly over time.

Bachelor degree graduates employed 4 months after graduation, selected fields of education, 2018 (%)

OccupationProportion employed part-timeProportion employed full-time
Teacher Education10.683.3
Veterinary Science4.584.7
Business and Management10.277.9
Law and Paralegal Studies10.777.2
Agriculture and Environmental Studies18.868.3
Humanities, Culture and Social Sciences19.564.3
Science and Mathematics18.364.6
Creative Arts29.152.2
Computing and Information Systems7.973.2

*Full-time employment is a proportion of those available for full-time employment. Part-time employment is a proportion of those available for any employment.

Higher education graduate salaries

In 2018, the median annual full-time starting salary was $61,000. Postgraduate coursework graduates had a median starting salary of $83,300 and for postgraduate research graduates it was $90,000.

The highest bachelor degree graduate salaries by area of study were

  • Dentistry (meadian of $83,700)
  • Medicine ($73,000)
  • Social Work ($65,600).

Sources: NCVER, VET Student Outcomes; ABS, Characteristics of Employment; QILT, Graduate Outcomes Survey

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