15 December 1997

All University of Queensland recent economics graduates are currently employed, according to Professor Clem Tisdell, head of the Economics Department.

Professor Tisdell said Graduate Destinations Survey data showed zero unemployment in early 1996 of the previous year's graduating class, consisting of approximately 80 students.

Professor Tisdell said this was in contrast to the experience of most other economics faculties throughout the country. These were contracting in size rather than expanding, due mainly to competition from business and management-type degrees.

Professor Tisdell said that the high marketability of Queensland University economics graduates reflected the applied nature of the course and the quality of its students.

"The current state of full employment for the University's economics graduates continues the strong trend of declining unemployment since 1992 when 7.7 percent of graduates were unemployed at the end of the year following graduation," he said.

"The unemployment rate has declined steadily since then: 5 percent in 1993, 4.4 percent in 1994 and 1.1 percent in 1995, the first year in which there was zero unemployment of female graduates."

Professor Tisdell said the private sector continued to be the major employer of the University's graduates but employment in the government sector remained strong and education had bounced back as a significant outlet for graduates.

He said the disclosed median starting salary for economics graduates aged under 23 was $25,500 a year while males with an honours degree averaged $35,000 a year and the median starting salary for female graduates tended to be higher than that for males.

"From an employment and commercial point of view, economics at the University of Queensland is a very good choice for females, and almost 40 percent of graduates completing the economics degree at the University are female," Professor Tisdell said.

Professor Tisdell said he had received letters from potential employers, including large government regulatory bodies, stressing their need for graduates skilled in applied economics.

"With the emphasis in society on aspects such as due diligence, competitive pricing, unfair trade and government regulation, the need for economists capable of applying micro-economic skills to problems and issues is growing and it seems demand now exceeds supply," Professor Tisdell said.

"There is a real shortage of graduates skilled in industry economics work and cost-benefit analyses and we're finding that our postgraduate courses are now attracting candidates from other disciplines such as engineering, law and accountancy because they need that micro-economic understanding.

"Employers find that one of the real benefits of employing a trained economist is that the training is, in essence, the ability to organise information and data. In today's world of instant and voluminous information about business and economic conditions that ability can be critical for a company or organisation."

For further information, please call Professor Clem Tisdell on (07) 3365 6242 or after hours on (07) 3379 4802