Labour Market Outcomes of Graduates in Economics in Australia

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The discipline of economics encompasses broad skillsets with diverse applications in employment markets and industries. Studies of labour market prospects for economics graduates are relatively dated particularly in the light of developments such as declining interest in economics in high school and university. This study examines the labour market outcomes of Australian economics graduates, at the bachelor and postgraduate levels, using a national dataset. We observe strong employment prospects for graduates in economics after graduation, in terms of full-time employment and salaries. Obtaining a postgraduate qualification appears to pay off, with master's and PhD graduates experiencing more favourable employment outcomes than bachelor's graduates. Substantial proportions report being overqualified for their jobs although this proportion is comparable to those reported for the broader Australian graduate labour market. Reassuringly, those initially overqualified transition out and overqualification reduces in the longer term. Most economics graduates become economists, but many others enter a wide array of other occupations. Of those who start out in non-economist professions, there is a 42 per cent chance that they transition to economist roles after 2.5 years. In summary, an economics degree leads to favourable employment and earnings and should still be considered an attractive choice for prospective students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-323
Number of pages18
JournalEconomic Papers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


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