17/11/2016 - 11:58

Has the role of the Graduate died?

17/11/2016 - 11:58


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Has the role of the Graduate died?

The fourth industrial revolution theory predicts entry level white collar jobs will be eradicated by technology. Entry level white collar jobs are traditionally filled by Graduates - so do Graduates still have a role in organisations? Data from Graduate Careers Australia suggest there is still a strong employment market for Graduates.

68.8% of 2015 Graduates were in full-time employment within four months of completing their degrees, indicating a slight improvement compared with 2014 but down from 71.3 per cent in 2013.

Graduate Careers Australia 2015

There is a common perception that hiring an employee with experience will add the most value to an organisation. A recent study by Graduate Careers Australia found that Graduates can be overlooked due to factors such as poor communication skills and lack of work experience. Employers may also be deterred by the cost of on-boarding, training and integrating a Graduate into an organisation.

Are there benefits employing Graduates?

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a Graduate is affordability, as Graduates lack experience they can be paid at an entry level position. Many Graduates are also willing to participate in an unpaid internship prior to gaining permanent employment, reducing the risk to the employer.

Graduates entering the labour market are typically far more ‘tech savvy’ than more experienced employees. They have a greater degree of familiarity with a range of software and applications and are able to leverage this to create more efficient and innovative solutions to existing problems.

Innovation often comes from questioning rather than accepting current procedures and processes. Graduates generally have fewer pre-conceived ideas about how things should be done or baggage from previous workplaces and are therefore likely to question current practices, given the right employment environment. This allows a Graduate to bring fresh perspectives and introduce new innovative ways of coordinating and completing work. In addition, Graduates can introduce different working styles which may increase productivity and efficiency. 


The data suggests Graduates will continue to be employed, however as for the wider workforce, organisations may look at flexible employment practices, or we will see a shift of the roles or initial duties of Graduates when they enter the workforce.

Casual employees make up 23.9% of the Australian workforce. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that over 39% of casual workers are students and under 25 years of age. Graduate Careers Australia found that some Graduates sought casual employment as it allows them to gain experience on flexible terms as well as providing them with the ability to study further. Casual work entails irregular work hours with no guaranteed hours of work, enabling the employer to choose when a Graduate employee is needed. 

Long term HSBC research indicates a shift in the labour market and predicts professions such as Accounting and Law will decrease as more work is able to be automated through super-computers or completed off shore in cheaper labour markets.  It is expected the experts in these professions will continue to be required for complex analysis and relationship with clients, but over time it is likely these professions will see a decrease in numbers graduating as students choose to work in growing professions.  The early prediction is that health care and social assistance, education and training, technical services and construction, will provide more than half of all new employment opportunities between now and 2019 (Australian Government’s Industry Employment Projections 2015 report).

So, there is still life in the labour market for Graduates, just not in the traditional sense.


Contact WCA Solutions - People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance with managing your Industrial Relations and/ or general Human Resources requirements on (08) 9383 3293 by email at admin@wcasolutions.com or visit our website at wcasolutions.com


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