Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Too Many Science Graduates

By Guy Nolch

A new report finds that the increasing number of science graduates are having difficulty finding relevant employment.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Advocates of science have long argued the merits of students studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and several programs have been established to ignite an interest in science as early as primary school and then maintain that interest into adulthood. Already these efforts seem to be working – perhaps too well.

In August the Grattan Institute reported that “science has added 26,800 local students since 2009, outstripping growth in other STEM fields”. But what happens to all those students when they finish their studies?

The report, Mapping Australian Higher Education 2016, paints a pessimistic picture of the career prospects of science graduates. It found that:

  • last year only 51% of science graduates found full-time work 4 months after completing their course – 17% lower than the national average;
  • the end of the mining boom has had dire consequences for geology graduates, with the full-time employment rate at its lowest level in 30 years;
  • only half of all working science graduates say their degree is required for their job – 20% below the average; and
  • science Bachelor degree graduates are less likely than other STEM graduates to work in high-skill managerial or professional jobs.

So where do many of our science graduates go? More than one-quarter start another Bachelor degree,...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.