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18 ] September 13-14, 2014 The Weekend Australian

What is the pay back?
Does it matter which university you get your degree from? The answer depends on who you ask.

GIVEN the significant cost of postgraduate education, it’s worth investigating any likely pay off before you dive into a further qualification. Will your salary increase and by how much? Will you be more attractive to employers in your chosen field?

The latest Good Universities Guide to Postgraduate Courses shows considerable variation between industries when it comes to salary increases achieved through postgraduate study.

Using data from the Australian Graduate Survey, the Good Universities Guide analysed undergraduate versus postgraduate salaries across 30 fields of study. Across the board, salaries are higher for postgraduates than undergraduates in every sector. Yet Good Universities Guides data manager, Ross White, says some industries outperform others.

“Engineering and technology postgraduates can expect their salary to rise from an average of $64,202 to $101,573 following a typical $36,059 investment in a masters program,” says White.

Other industries that deliver significant salary increases include dentistry, economics and medicine. Lower salary increases are more typical in the creative arts, social work and rehabilitation.

As well as any salary increase, postgraduates typically expect their additional qualification to make them more attractive to potential employers.

“In some industries postgraduates gain ground in both areas. Paralegal is an example,” says White. “Only 12 per cent of postgraduate paralegal professionals are looking for work in their field against 39 per cent of undergraduates. Plus, their salaries rise by around 60 per cent.

“Another one is the business and management sector, where postgraduates are more employable plus they earn virtually double their undergraduate counterparts.”

In some industries, postgraduates can expect to be more employable or to achieve a higher salary, but not both.

“Accounting postgraduates will generally see their salary go up but they may actually find it harder to find a job. There is quite a bit of variation from sector to sector (continued on page 18)

The institution you attend can make a big impact, so it’s wise to do your research before you make a decision.


Here’s an eye-catching study option.

Expand your boundaries – and your mind – in an environment of academic excellence. If the right balance of lifestyle and learning is important to you, the University of Tasmania is a place where outstanding individuals can pursue their postgraduate studies – and achieve the extraordinary.

Tomorrow starts today.



An American degree. An Australian experience.
We created the first Internet search engine, helped develop artifcial intelligence, revolutionised
business education and that’s just in our first 114 years.

For program, fee-help and scholarship information visit

Carnegie Mellon University Australia

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