Joining the Dots (JTD)


Australia's degree-qualified workforce: Contributions of the Australian higher education system and overseas migration

Publication Date



Higher education, Labour force, Employment, Employment qualifications, Occupational analysis, Employment statistics, Migrant workers, Degrees (Academic)


(Joining the dots : research briefing ; v.3 n.6)


The current composition of the degree-qualified labour force in Australia reflects a combination of a range of factors, most notably the operation over time of the domestic higher education system and the migration system. While policies in each of these areas influence the extent and mix of skills in the Australian workforce, analyses of higher education and migration policies often focus on one or the other of these areas in relative isolation. Given the central importance of a skilled workforce to Australia's future as an innovative economy, the intertwined effects of policies in each of these areas must be recognised. This Joining the Dots briefing aims to inform this debate by presenting evidence on the changing balance of skills from domestic and migrant sources in recent years, and comparing the labour market outcomes of persons who obtained their qualifications domestically with those of skilled migrants. The focus is on persons holding a bachelor degree or higher qualification, and occupations with a level of skill commensurate with these qualifications, which comprise the majority of managerial and professional occupations in Australia (ABS, 2006). It should be noted that this is wider than some definitions of skilled work, which also include technical and trade occupations.

Place of Publication



Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)



Geographic Subject