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Degrees or Trades - Where The Money Is

03rd July 2019

A recent study conducted by Skilling Australia Foundation has found that there are many myths surrounding a uni education being a more viable option for career prospects than VET courses.

The report found a common misconception held among Australians was the belief that VET jobs don't pay well. On the contrary, the findings actually reveal that tradies may be on a better starting wage. While the average full-time salary for a VET graduate is $56,000, for a recent university graduate the median starting income is $54,000.

Of all the myths the research debunked, it’s particularly interesting to note that in the first year of employment, those who pursue trades from VET education are more likely to land a job and be paid more.

The study also reveals that those who undertake apprenticeships are set to earn 20 per cent more than their peers who complete bachelor degrees, as the local construction industry fails to entice new tradies and demand for trade qualified workers increases. This puts tradies in a position where their valuable services can command increased remuneration.

An average of 78% of VET graduates land a job straight after finishing their course, compared to 68% of graduates with a bachelor degree.

In 2018, more than one million students were enrolled at Australian universities, with 37% of Australians aged between 25 and 34 holding a Bachelor Degree or higher.

These high enrolments figures equate to a high dropout rate, with recent data revealing that 33% of students are not completing their degree. 

The perception that needs to be challenged is that uni is the superior option for school leavers, as it’s clearly not the right fit for everyone. Skills-based career development provides a viable alternative for Australians to pursue an individual passion while gaining the knowledge and experience to build a rewarding career.