• Graduate Destinations Survey (2013-2015)
  • UniCurve modelling

Top Universities for Graduate Salaries

Graduate professionals.Which are Australia’s best universities for setting up professional careers?

As you might expect, the more prestigious universities perform better. Graduate salaries are higher and more graduates go on to further study. Universities such as Melbourne Uni, UWA and Adelaide Uni are at the top of the pay rankings.

But results do vary.

  • Our analysis shows that some “average” universities beat many of the prestigious ones in terms of getting graduates into jobs.
  • Online universities (e.g. CDU, USQ) generally do well in terms of graduate outcomes. They benefit from having high percentages of working and/or mature students.

The table shows the salary, employment and study rates of first-time university graduates some months after completing their degrees. Observed salaries been adjusted for unemployment, the potential earning power of students doing further study, and high employment rates among online students.

Graduate Salaries by Subject

Sources: Graduate Destinations Survey (2012-2014), UniCurve modelling

The above table shows indicative salaries by subject for students who recently graduated.

The salary estimates account for:

  • low salaries of unemployed graduates
  • earnings potential of graduates doing further study.

Interpreting Graduate Salary Estimates

The graduate salary estimates show which universities produce with best graduate outcomes. Importantly, the figures control for unobserved earning potential of graduates doing advanced courses. The table uses data from the past 3 Australian Graduate Surveys.


The reported salary amounts are based on the observed median salary of graduates who were working full time at the time of the survey.

Graduate salaries are adjusted for low incomes of unemployed graduates and high earnings potential of graduates doing further studies. Unobserved earning potential is estimated using an economic model that is responsive to pay, study and unemployment rates for the university’s graduate cohort.

  • Unemployed graduates are assumed to be welfare dependent.
  • Graduates doing post-graduate courses are assumed to have higher earning capacity than those who entered the job market.

For online (external students), a regression-based adjustment is made to compensate for higher employment rates. This is done for overall university stats but not by individual subject. Online students are often mature-students who already have a job and study part-time.

Factors not considered

Significant pay factors for which no adjustments were made are:

  1. The average ability of the students in a university.
  2. Job status and age of enrolled students.
  3. The job market conditions in the city/region where a uni is located.