Higher education research

Publication Date



Equity (Educational opportunities), Equity (Educational finance), Graduates, Graduate attributes, Graduate surveys, Higher education, Disadvantaged, Socioeconomic status, Disabilities, Regional characteristics, Non English speaking background, Salaries


Australian higher education equity policy focusses mostly on access and participation with the implicit assumption that disadvantage will be ameliorated through educational achievement. Less is known as to whether patterns of disadvantage continue post-completion. In a context in which graduate employability is becoming an important yardstick against which to measure institutional effectiveness, this question is of fundamental importance to higher education equity practitioners and policymakers. This study employed Commonwealth graduate outcome data to investigate relationships between disadvantage and graduate outcomes in Australia, with disadvantage defined as a graduate belonging to one or more of the following groups – low SES, Indigenous, regional, with a disability, from a non-English speaking background (NESB), born outside Australia and female in a technical area. The study provided critical insights into how access to higher education does – or does not – lead to improvements in post-graduation equity. The study utilised data from the 2014 Australian Graduate Survey (Department of Education and Training, 2014) which reported information on graduate outcomes from a total of 142,647 graduates who completed their studies in 2013 and 2014.

Place of Publication

Perth WA


National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University