What Do Public Health Graduates Do and Where Do They Go? An Analysis of Job Destinations and Mismatch in Australian Public Health Graduates

Rory Watts, Devin C. Bowles, Colleen Fisher, Ian Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: It is not well understood what occupations public health graduates have after graduation, nor is it well known whether their education provides them with the relevant knowledge and skills to feel well matched to their occupations. Furthermore, it is commonly presumed that public health graduates work in government, and investments in education would bolster this workforce. Methods: We aimed to describe the common occupations of Australian public health graduates, describe the heterogeneity of graduate destinations, describe the level of mismatch that graduates report, and compare these results with other fields of study. We used eight years of Australian graduate survey data (2008–2015) from the Graduate Destinations Survey, examining outcomes data from 8900 public health graduates from four levels of education. We compared occupation and industry heterogeneity, and level of occupational mismatch between public health graduates, and graduates from other fields of education. Results: Public health graduates report having a broad set of occupations in a broad set of industries after graduation, and this breadth is dissimilar to most health degrees. Furthermore, public health graduates tend to have average or lower-than-average rates of mismatch. Conclusions: Despite going into a broad set of occupations and industries, graduates from public health tend to report being well prepared given their education. Given that both occupation and industry outcomes are heterogeneous for graduates, an investment in public health education does not guarantee an increase in the governmental public health workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7504
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021

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