Start-up numbers could fall as graduate salaries rebound

University graduates may become even more inclined to work for a company rather than start their own business, with a new report showing graduate salaries are on the rebound.


According to a report conducted for the Australian Association of Graduate Employers, the average salary for university graduates starting out next year has risen 2% to $56,000.


However, organisations that hire the bulk of graduates – including accounting firms, professional services firms and government departments – offer a median salary of just over $50,000.


The report, based on a survey of almost 3,300 employers and employees, found graduates that work for investment banks and fund managers lead the pack, with pay packets of $90,000.


Next in line are graduates starting out in energy, mining and resources companies, who have signed off for $60,000 next year.


While graduate salaries might be on the increase, job prospects aren’t as strong.


A report from Graduate Careers Australia, based on a survey of almost 100,000 graduates, shows employment prospects for new graduates fell for the second consecutive year in 2010.


The Australian Graduate Survey is conducted annually with all Australian universities and a number of smaller private institutions.


The report reveals that in 2010, 76.2% of bachelor degree graduates available for full-time employment had found a permanent position within four months of completing their course.


That figure was down from 79.2% in 2009, 85.2% in 2008 and was the lowest since 1994. The 2011 report is yet to be released.


Mark Parncutt, co-founder of student start-up Nudge, says despite the figures, most students in the final years of their degrees are more interested in finding a job rather than going it alone.


“The vast majority of students are simply not interested in entrepreneurship or starting their own business,” he says.


But Amir Nissen, founder of student-led entrepreneurship group Student Entrepreneurs, says online businesses allow graduates to enjoy the security of a fulltime job while starting up on the side.


According to Nissen, there’s also more support nowadays.


“The low barriers to entry, brought about by the internet, has made start-ups a more viable option for young people,” Nissen says.


“It has also made forming groups easier, which perhaps explains the current proliferation of them. In Sydney, there’s an entrepreneurship event every day of the working week and Melbourne is not far off.”


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