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Female graduates a better bet for employers: survey finds

Employers rate the skills and performance of female university graduates higher than those of male graduates, a national survey has revealed.

A survey of more than 4000 employers on how well universities prepared graduates for the workforce found employers reported a satisfaction rate of 85 per cent for female graduates, compared with 82 per cent for male graduates.

The employer satisfaction report, released yesterday, also found that graduates tended to view their degree as less important to their employment than their supervisors did.

One quarter of graduates said their degree was not important for their current job, compared with 19.5 per cent of employer supervisors.

Employer satisfaction levels for graduates of vocationally-oriented courses, such as engineering and health, were nearly 10 per cent higher than for graduates of generalist courses such as management or commerce.

Employer satisfaction scores for different universities ranged from 91 to 77 per cent, with WA institutions Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University on 78.5 per cent.

The University of Notre Dame had the second-highest employer satisfaction rate in the country, with 89.1 per cent.

Curtin University scored 84.8 per cent and the University of WA 83.7 per cent.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the fact that one quarter of graduates said their degrees were not important to their job showed that universities needed to work harder to improve graduates’ job prospects.

“We expect students to work hard on their performance, and we ought to expect our universities to try to improve their performance for their students as well,” Mr Birmingham said.

“That the relevance of degrees, the content of those courses must be up to scratch to ensure that students are as employable as possible when they leave uni and go into the job market.”

But Universities Australia’s acting chief executive Catriona Jackson said the survey results showed that graduates were meeting employers’ high expectations, with more than four out of five employers, or 84 per cent, satisfied with the graduates who worked for them.

“These results tell a positive story about graduates in the labour market and that universities are preparing their students well,” she said.

Notre Dame Vice-Chancellor Celia Hammond said the university was delighted that employers valued its graduates so highly.

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