Salary Talk: Which Degree Has New Grads Smiling?

Dentistry has retained its crown as the most lucrative field for new grads, with a median starting salary of $80,000 in 2013 according to Graduate Careers Australia.

Optometry comes in at second place with a starting salary of $70,000, while engineering, earth science and medicine, and education round out the top five with graduates pulling in $64,000, $60,000 and $57,000 respectively.


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The median starting salary across all fields increased to $52,500 in 2013, up from $52,000 in 2012, but grad salaries are not increasing as quickly as wages in the real world. The median graduate salary in 2013 only represented 74.6 per cent of male average weekly earnings; the lowest level on record.

Here’s the full list of starting salaries by field of education:

Graduate Starting Salaries

Source: Graduate Careers Australia

State results

Western Australian grads enjoyed the highest pay straight off the bat, starting at $57,000, closely followed by the ACT ($56,000), the Northern Territory ($55,500) and South Australia ($54,000).

Queensland ($52,500), New South Wales ($52,000), Tasmania ($52,000) are in the middle of the pack, while Victorian grads ($50,000) took home the lowest starting pay.

Gender results

Interestingly, even at the graduate level the gender pay divide is loud and clear, with the median male pulling in $55,000 compared to $51,600 for females.

This means that the median female graduate earned 93.9 per cent of their male counterparts’ wage in 2013, a three per cent improvement on the 2012 figure.

Graduate Careers Australia suggests that the wage gap can partly be explained by the course choices of male and female gradates. A larger proportion of males choose fields with higher starting salaries like engineering, while more females opt for humanities career paths.

Image: Denmark Dental, Flickr