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The degrees you shouldn’t do if you want to get a job

Degrees are important, but there are some that may not earn you a grad job. Source: Getty

Picking a university degree at the end of high school is tough as it is, but it’s made more difficult by the fact that the workforce is facing astronomical changes.

With the rise of artificial intelligence, we’re expected to need 18,000 more software and applications programmers, around 12,200 more management and organisation analysts and almost 11,000 more information and organisation professionals.

And, according to the latest Future of Work for Australian Graduates report by the Australia Institute, no group of workers will confront the reality of constant change more directly than young works.

“Rates of graduate employment in full-time work are down significantly over the past decade, and there is evidence of a growing mismatch and underutilisation of university graduates in positions that do not fully or even partly utilise their hard-won knowledge and skills,” the report stated.

The report found that having a university degree is still a “vital and valuable asset”, and 32 per cent of all jobs worked in May 2018 required a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification, a figure set to rise to 33 per cent by 2023.

But, it also found that there are some degrees you should probably avoid if you want to get a graduate job.

Generalist degrees

The report found that graduates of generalist degrees have poorer immediate full-time work outcomes, with those grads 15 per cent less likely to get a job.

But, that wasn’t to say they weren’t still useful.

“Generalist degrees nevertheless provide a base of the broader knowledge and skills for workers today and in the future,” the report stated.

In fact, the report said the onus was on employers to accept these degrees, and realise their value.

“Higher education qualifications and a continuing supply of generalist degrees will be necessary if the workforce is to be able to navigate technological, social, environmental and political change into the future.

“Rather than limiting the frame of analysis to what employers are currently willing to employ, education policy should have a more well-rounded vision of the value that higher education, including generalist degrees, can add to the future economy.”

Research degrees

Declining government spending in research and development has “threatened” innovation and research, which harms job prospects for many graduates – including those in generalist degrees like sciences.

Biological sciences

Full-time work attainment for biological sciences graduates was 15 per cent lower than for the general graduate population last year.

The reported stated there’s been increased pressure on universities to restructure their STEM degrees to develop tighter linkages with the industry.

“Public investment will continue to be critical to creating jobs in fields and projects that are not immediately profitable in the short-term, but are of significant value to the economy and society in the long-term.”

However, the following degrees will make you job-ready.

Vocational degrees

The report found vocational degrees in healthcare and education fields, like nursing, teaching and medicine, have still been performing strongly due to sustained public sector investment in the public services that underpin them.

“The stability of public funding for public services ensures stronger linkages between students obtaining education and skills, and the immediate application of these skills in their jobs.”

Over 83 per cent of those that graduated with engineering degrees also gained employment immediately after university last year.

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