Scaling up by degrees
UNIVERSITY graduates who start their careers on a $50,000 salary can expect a $17,000 pay rise within three years.
Figures released by Graduate Careers Australia show workers who graduated in 2009 were rewarded with a 34 per cent pay rise by 2012.
Although creative arts graduates started on the lowest salary of just $40,000 after finishing uni, their pay jumped a whopping 50 per cent over three years to $60,000.
Education graduates received the smallest increase, starting at $54,000 and rising 20.4 per cent to $65,000.
Australia Catholic University career development services manager Sally Purcell says the increases would be “quite heartening” to graduates after so many years of study.
“It’s always been the case (that graduates) look at those who went to work in an entrylevel role straight from school and are now in a managerial role earning similar to what they are earning (in their first year out of uni) and they wonder ‘Is it worth it?’,” Purcell says.
“But they need to say ‘Let’s look 10 years ahead’, and then they see that, most likely, they will be ahead (of those who went to work straight from school).
“It’s all about the longer game plan.”
Purcell says creative arts graduates – who are often discouraged by poor employment outcomes – should be buoyed by figures showing they experience the biggest leap in income.
“Creativity is highly valued by employers today, particularly with the rapid shifts in technology,’’ she says.
The GCA research shows more than 90 per cent of 2009 graduates had found employment in 2012, compared with 76.3 per cent who found work just after finishing studies.
Dario Russo, 27, admits he was concerned about his future after graduating with a creative arts degree in 2007.
But he says luck, combined with hard work, has paid off. He co-wrote and directed action comedy Danger 5, shown on SBS in 2012. A second series will screen this year.
“My income has progressively increased,’’ Russo says. “To start with, I had a mentality that I will take whatever you will give me. (In creative arts), you have to scale the wage to your reputation and experience. You can’t expect an amazing wage when you’re starting out.”
BIG BUILD-UP: Director/producer Dario Russo at the SA Film Corporation’s Adelaide studio mixing theatre.