Source: The Mercury, 16 December, 1998, p.25

Women grads beat the men in first wage

Males pick best-paid careers

THE initial salaries of 
female university gradu- 
ates are increasing faster 
than they are for men. 
For the second year in a 
row, growth in women's start- 
ing salaries has outstripped 
growth in salaries for male 
graduates with a rise of 
$1500 this year compared 
with $1000 for men, a new 
study has found. 
But the Graduate Careers 
Council of Australia says 
women are still lagging be- 
hind because men dominate 
the high-paying careers such 
as dentistry and medicine. 
Of more encouragement for 
graduates, council executive 
director Roger Bartley said 
the study found the decline in 
graduate starting salaries 
which began in the late 
1980s, had abated. 
Mr Bartley said there was 
also evidence that the job 
market for graduates had 
strengthened since a slump 
in demand in the early 1990s. 
The median starting salary 
for graduates in all disci- 
plines was $30,000 compared 
with average earnings of 
$37,200 for the rest of the 
Male graduates earned 
83.3% of average earnings in 
their first job while women 
earned 80.6%. 
Mr Bartley said: "Starting 
salaries for female graduates 
rose by $1500 or 5.3% and 
salaries for females have 
grown at a greater rate than 
those for men over the past 
two years. 
"Males tend to have en- 
rolled in the more highly 
paying fields of study while 
females tended to come from 
the middle and lower-paying 
The study is the result of a 
survey of graduates who went 
into the workforce at the end 
of last year from universities 
across Australia. 
It found that men were 
nearly four times as likely to 
be graduates in the five best- 
paying fields - dentistry 
medicine, optometry, earth 
sciences and engineering. 
Medical graduates and vet- 
erinary science, nursing, law, 
mining engineering and den- 
tistry graduates had the 
greatest chance of finding 
full-time work within four 
months of leaving university. 
Full-time work was harder 
to be found by those who 
studied visual and perform- 
ing arts, psychology, social 
sciences and life sciences. 
They were more likely to 
work part-time or casually 
while seeking full-time work. 
Mr Bartley said university 
graduates still had the lowest 
unemployment rates when 
compared with the national 
jobless rate of 8%. 
Only 3.5% of those who 
earned bachelor degrees were 
unemployed this year while 
higher-degree graduates had 
a jobless rate of only 2.6%. 
Overall, 79.6% of gradu- 
ates were in full-time jobs 
within four months of finish- 
ing their courses at the end of 
last year. 
Mr Bartley said there was 
very little difference between 
the ability of male graduates 
to find work compared with 
female graduates.

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