A degree is a big investment of your time and money. As with any investment, you want to be sure that you’re going to get a decent return when it comes to your graduate salary in Australia.

Of course, many factors will impact your decision on what and where you study, but if you are thinking of studying in Australia, it’s also natural to want to set your expectations and have background knowledge of the graduate earning potential in your field of interest.

Conveniently, local research has been conducted over the last few years and can help answer some of your most important questions.

Which universities deliver the highest graduate salaries?

The recently published Graduate Salaries report from University Reviews ranks all the universities in Australia according to the total average salary any graduate can expect. The University of Adelaide comes in at number four nationally and is the top uni in South Australia. This is especially impressive given the Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Ranking 2017, ranks Adelaide as also being the most affordable mainland city in Australia.

Which courses deliver the highest graduate salaries?

The Graduate Salaries Report also breaks down the top graduate salaries according to degree, and by university. Ranking at number one is dentistry, followed by medicine and engineering.

The University of Adelaide scores the highest average graduate salary in the country for nursing! This can be attributed to the university’s reputation for housing one of the best nursing schools in the whole country. If you are an international student or didn’t achieve the ATAR you need to go straight to uni, the University of Adelaide College can help you pursue your dream of studying nursing in Australia through the Foundation Studies Program.

Will my gender affect my graduate pay levels?

Unfortunately, the simple answer is yes. According to research by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, in Australia, the average pay gap between male and female graduates is 5.5% (as of the Graduate Salary survey in 2014). The average graduate salary starts at $52,000 for women, and $55,000 for men.

While this is a better figure than the standard base salary (where women earn 16.2% less than men), it’s still not fair.

Make sure you find out what all graduates are being paid in your workplace. If you become aware of inequality, here are some steps you can take to correct it.

Will my salary be affected by the fact that English is my second language?

Although the research on average graduate salaries for non-native speakers is unclear, the Graduate Salaries Report of 2017 does indicate that there are certain factors that make it easier for some graduates to find work than others.

If you are a young graduate with little experience, or your English is not as polished as other applicants, if may take longer for you to get a graduate position.

Make sure you give yourself the best chance possible to find work, by studying English before you start your degree. The University of Adelaide College offers a General Academic English course for international students looking to ensure their language skills are at a university-level before pursuing their degree.

When can I expect my graduate salary to start going up?

Whether you’re working for a company or in the public sector in Australia, you can expect a pay rise annually. This is to ensure your wage is rising with inflation, which is a legal requirement.

Beyond this, it’s up to you to negotiate for a pay increase when you sign on to each new contract or change jobs.

See here for more information about starting your degree pathway to the University of Adelaide at the University of Adelaide College.