In recent years, an increasing emphasis has been put on pursuing higher education, pushing Australian youth to arm themselves with a degree in their field. With this tool at their side, the promise of a fulfilling job in their field seemed all but guaranteed. But, students are quickly learning that simply having a degree is far from enough to push them above the crowd in the working world of Australia. With an overabundance of degree holding job seekers, employers are searching for other qualities and qualifications to help set candidates apart from the rest, and determine who the most qualified truly are.
There is actually a situation now, where too many graduates are emerging from Australian universities. With the enrollment cap removed, universities have opened their doors to higher numbers of students, causing a significant influx in those graduating and subsequently devaluing certain degrees in the process. The supply of qualified individuals has now shifted to far outweigh the demand, leaving large numbers of graduates stuck in jobs they are highly overqualified for.
Limiting the numbers of graduating students each year is likely to have a positive impact on the success of those individuals in finding suitable employment. When degrees are more exclusive and limited to a restricted number, it goes without saying that the most highly qualified individuals will be accepted to study in those programs. Also, as a result, less graduates will walk out of university, giving each of them a higher chance to attain employment in their field of study.
Of course, making education available to all seems like a wonderful idea, but in the end, the value of that education is lessened, and the opportunities available to each graduate simply don’t exist.
Because of this influx of graduates, caused by the removal of enrollment caps, employers are forced to look towards other qualifiers, in order to rank and compare candidates. If each applicant is armed with the same degree, there needs to be some other ways to assess who is best qualified for the job. Real life experience can truly be a defining factor in the decision making process.
When all else is equal, and everyone has a degree at their side, employers want to see that education at work in real life situations. Whether it’s through volunteering, interning or any other situation, if individuals are able to apply their education and knowledge in a real life setting, they can set themselves apart and give more credence to that degree they’re holding. Experience speaks volumes, and demonstrates that they have the knowledge and ability to put what they’ve learned into practice.
But, when the opportunity does present itself, more needs to be done than just getting the job done. Being hired on to a company, in a role related to their field of study, doesn’t mean that it’s simply enough to do the bare minimum and skate through. Although a degree may have helped get someone into their current position, it’s their performance that will keep them there and propel them into future promotions.
There’s always an endless number of graduates lined up and waiting to jump at an opportunity that may present itself should someone prove that their degree was just a valueless piece of paper. It’s not simply enough to hold a degree, in order to attain and maintain a position in a chosen field. In this highly competitive world, qualifications need to be demonstrated, and continually proven.
Australia is oversaturated with degree holders, filling the employment pool with seemingly qualified candidates, while, at the same time, devaluing the worth of the degree they’ve worked hard to attain. It’s simply a supply and demand scenario, where the supply of graduates is so high that it essentially makes the entire qualification of being a graduate meaningless. Because of this, candidates need to supplement their degree with real life experience and proven performance in order to reinject their degree with value and credibility.
Reinstituting a graduate cap would significantly help raise the value of a degree back to its pre-capless worth. It makes each degree a more exclusive achievement and makes having a degree enough to cut it in the working world in Australia. But, for now, graduates will have to fight their way through the overabundance of degrees, in order to showcase their capabilities and qualifications.