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Survey Reveals Law Graduate Pay Rates


The results of the annual Australian Graduate Survey have been released. Graduate Careers Australia interviewed 122,000 recent graduates for its 2009 study, which examines the progress of recent university graduates. If you’re a recent grad or you’re very-nearly-almost-there, you’ll be pleased to know that the news about your starting pay packet is pretty good.

As you would expect, most recent graduates from bachelors degrees aged under 25 were earning a better wage than their friends that skipped tertiary education. Yet we were pretty surprised at the difference between the two. The median salary for a graduate in full time employment is $48,000 a year. That’s $9,000 more than individuals that didn’t attend uni.

The wages of recent university graduates also increased over the last year by 6.7%, while the pay for other workers the same age remained steady.

The median wage for baby lawyers sits at $50,000, but the median starting salary for a baby dentist is $70,000, making them the top earners amongst new graduates. It’s not all bad news for law students. Of the class of 2009, an impressive 87.7% of law graduates are in full time work and 16% of former law students are undertaking further full time study (postgraduate or honours).

Female grads are still earning less than their fellow male graduates with similar training and in similar jobs. The difference is about 3%.

If you graduated with honours, you can expect to earn 5% more in your first year out of uni than students that didn’t complete honours, and a double degree will earn you an extra 3% on top of your starting wage compared with students who completed single degrees.

If you want to pay off your HECS debt as soon as possible, consider work in a larger organisation. On average, you’ll earn 8% more than your colleagues working in small to medium sized businesses.

Should all else fail, you can always move to the Northern Territory where the median starting pay for graduates is $52,000- the highest in the country. Western Australia and the ACT are equal second ($49,000.00).

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