Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Psychology is Australia's most overrated degree, Surveying is our most underrated

SCHOOL-LEAVERS considering studying psychology should have their heads read - it is officially Australia's most overrated degree.

Only 63 per cent of the psychology graduates found full-time work in their chosen field - and those lucky ones had a median starting salary of $47,500, only slightly higher than the $42,000 earned by factory workers.

According to the new study by McCrindle Research, surveying is the smartest choice for students, ranking as Australia's most underrated degree.

Australia suffering from high levels of youth unemployment, with more than a quarter aged 17-24 not in full time work or study.

But with surveyors, nine out of ten graduates found full time work in their chosen field - with a median starting salary of $52,000.

Adam Brown, a surveying recruitment specialist with Aspect Personnel, says 2014 should be a boom year for graduates, with building approvals at levels not seen since 2010.

"2013 was a tough year for building approvals, but that is set to change," Mr Brown said. "There will be an urgent demand to fill holes in surveying staff and clients will prefer graduates to train and give more bang for their buck."

Bryce Campbell, who has just completing his first year of surveying at the University of Newcastle, is hoping the buck will swing his way.

"Surveying isn't a popular degree," he said. "In my home town of Port Macquarie a surveyor I know said there is currently a shortage. By the time I graduate, there should be huge demand."

After graduating, his degree could mean working with roads, mapping, oceanography or something with volcanoes. "I haven't quite decided yet," said Mr Campbell.

Emma Eltringham, 21, from Melbourne, is excited about starting the first year of a surveying degree at the University of Melbourne and the future possibilities.  "There are so many options, but it is a stable career with long-term work," she said. "I am really excited about the opportunities it will bring."

Urban and Regional Planning, Rehabilitation and Electrical Engineering are other bachelor degrees creating employable graduates with our changing population driving demand, according to demographer Mark McCrindle.

"Australia's population growth is creating the need for more homes than ever and the redevelopment of many existing urban centres," Mr McCrindle said.  "This planning and construction boom is creating great opportunities for graduates in relevant fields."

While psychology was ranked as the most overrated degree, architecture came in second with 72 per cent finding work in the field, but earning just $32,500.

Just over half of Visual and Performing Arts students working full-time receive a job in their field of study, helping this degree to third place.

The majority of graduates in these degrees require further study and qualifications before commencing full-time employment, according to demographer Mr McCrindle.

But the research also reveals there is less work for graduates and they are increasing entering the workforce in debt.

Between 2011 and 2013, the number of graduates securing work within four months dropped from 76.3 per cent to 71 per cent.

And today there are 1.7 million Australians with a HECS debt, commonly owing between $20,000 and $30,000.


1. Psychology

Full-time employees working in this field: 63%

Median starting salary: $47,500

2. Architecture

Full-time employees working in this field: 72%

Median starting salary: $32,500

3. Visual and Performing Arts

Full-time employees working in this field: 52%

Median starting salary: $38,000

4. Social Sciences

Full-time employees working in this field: 60%

Median starting salary: $45,000


1. Surveying

Full-time employees working in this field: 90%

Median starting salary: $52,000

2. Urban/Regional Planning

Full-time employees working in this field: 81%

Median starting salary: $50,000

3. Rehabilitation

Full-time employees working in this field: 89%

Median starting salary: $50,200

4. Electrical Engineering

Full-time employees working in this field: 76%

Median starting salary: $60,000


NSW government cancels mining licences tainted by Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald corruption scandals

"Sir Lunchalot" (Ian Macdonald)

Premier Barry O'Farrell will use special legislation to tear up three coal licences worth hundreds of millions of dollars issued by corrupt former Labor minister Ian Macdonald and deny the companies that own them any compensation.

The announcement is likely to spark legal action against the government by listed company NuCoal and private miner Cascade Coal, which claim their investors are being punished unfairly.

On Monday night Cascade, which has previously valued its exploration licences at $500 million, said the decision was grossly unjust and would cause "irreparable damage to the reputation of NSW and raise significant questions of sovereign risk".

A NuCoal spokesman said there had been "zero consultation" between the government and the company over the matter and it would "pursue all legal avenues to obtain compensation". It has previously suggested it would seek at least $500 million if its licence was cancelled.

But residents affected by the proposed mines, including Bylong Valley Protection Alliance secretary Craig Shaw, said the decision was a "victory for the people of NSW".

"Hats off to O'Farrell and his government for making this move," Mr Shaw said. "It was really the only logical move that was possible after the ICAC findings. But, as they say, it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings and we were holding our breath just waiting to see."

On Monday, Mr O'Farrell said the move drew "a line under this sorry saga of Labor politics and corruption in NSW".

After sensational public inquiries last year, the Independent Commission Against Corruption found Mr Macdonald and his political ally, former Labor MP Eddie Obeid, acted corruptly by agreeing in 2008 to create a mining tenement over the Obeid family's farm at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley.

The decision delivered the Obeids $30 million with the promise of at least $30 million more.

ICAC also found Mr Macdonald acted corruptly in 2008 in granting a licence at Doyles Creek to a company, Doyles Creek Mining, then chaired by former union official John Maitland. In December, ICAC advised the government that the licences - and another at Glendon Brook that formed part of the inquiry - were so "tainted by corruption" they should be cancelled.

It recommended the government legislate to give itself the power to confiscate profits made by those with knowledge of the corruption and compensate "any innocent person" affected by the cancellation.

In a statement after cabinet met on Monday night, Mr O'Farrell said the government would introduce legislation to cancel the licences but "no compensation" would be given.

Five of the investors in Cascade - coal mogul Travers Duncan, businessman John Kinghorn, lawyers John McGuigan and John Atkinson, and investment banker Richard Poole - were found by ICAC to have acted corruptly by concealing the Obeids' involvement in the mining tenement.

The government has not indicated whether it will also pass special laws to claw back profits from those who benefited from corrupt conduct. Such laws would go further than existing legislation to seize proceeds of crime because they would not require proof of illegality.

Mr O'Farrell said the bill would require the companies that now own the licences - NuCoal, which acquired Doyles Creek in 2010, and Cascade Coal in the case of Mount Penny and Glendon Brook - to hand over all exploration data and be responsible for rehabilitating the sites.

"There is no intention to immediately re-release the affected areas but any future process for issuing licences will be consistent with the NSW government's implementation of the ICAC's recommendations on probity," the government statement said.

"The legislation will indemnify the taxpayer from any possible claims relating to the issuing or cancellation of the licences."

A US investment fund, Ventry Industries, which holds 2.43 per cent of NuCoal, has said NSW would breach a section of the US-Australia free trade agreement dealing with confiscation of property without just compensation and due process. Managing director Rob Roy has threatened to lobby Congress and the US government over the matter.

Cascade argued ICAC's reasoning for recommending the cancellation of Mount Penny and Glendon Brook was flawed and warned of long and costly litigation.


Restaurant under fire for complaining about public holiday rates

A SMALL cafe in Adelaide has come under fire on Facebook after making public its dislike at having to pay workers 2.75 times the ordinary hourly rate of pay on public holidays.

The Bombay Bicycle Club in Ovingham set up a sign at the front of its restaurant outlining just how much it would cost them to open on a public holiday. They multiplied everything on the menu 2.75 times in an attempt to highlight the "stupidity" of the new rate.

The bread would be $19.25 under the cafe's calculations, while lamb korma was $65, salt and pepper squid $55, chicken schnitzel $48.50 and it would be more than $60 for a seafood pizza.

After receiving negative feedback in person, the cafe took to Facebook to explain the reasons behind the sign - but the instantaneous backlash forced them to pull the picture, and the sign, after just four hours.

"Here's a quick maths formula. Multiply zero (which equals the amount I will now spend at your establishment) by 2.75 and see what it equals," wrote one person on Facebook.

"Interesting to see that wages make up 100 per cent of your costs. While it must suck to have to compensate people fairly for working when everyone else gets a holiday, it must be nice not to have to pay for rent, insurance, or food," wrote another.

"Pay penalty rates you bourgeois swine!" commented someone after giving the establishment a rating of one star out of five.


Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews says Australia's welfare system is 'unsustainable'

The federal government says Australia's welfare system is unsustainable and changes need to be made. Source: AAP

THE federal government may consider introducing a universal welfare payment with top-ups for different need levels, to replace multiple types of benefits.

A 10-year report by the Department of Human Services shows more than five million Australians received an income support payment in June 2012, with Disability Support Pension recipients hitting 827,000 and the Newstart Allowance going to 550,000 people.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is concerned about growing numbers of people receiving the disability pension and Newstart, the general unemployment benefit.

"We must have ... a safety net for people who can't care for themselves ... but at the same time we have to ensure that the welfare system remains sustainable," he told ABC Radio.

"The best form of welfare is work."

Mr Andrews has appointed former Mission Australia head Patrick McClure to head a review of the welfare system.

The government is reviewing all welfare rules to see what can be done to decrease the number of people on the dole, including the possibility of eliminating the ability of those on welfare to refuse to take a job if it is more than 90 minutes from their home.

He says another proposal is for one universal welfare payment with top-ups for different levels of need, but that this is a long-term option.  "We have no immediate plans for that," he said.

Mr Andrews pointed out that the Newstart Allowance was indexed at a different rate compared to pensions.  "That provides in some instances at least a perverse incentive for people to want to get onto the disability support pension," he said.  "It's something which any government which is prudent about these things would have a look at."

He defended the Abbott government's generous paid parental leave scheme proposal, describing it as a work-related payment in the context of an ageing population and shrinking workforce.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was alarmed by Mr Andrews' comments, warning aged pensioners could be on the government's hit list.  "If this government wants to save money, scrap your gold-plated billionaires', millionaires' parental leave scheme," he told Sky News.  He said the government should look at multimillionaires receiving tax-free income from superannuation.

Welfare Rights Centre director Maree O'Halloran said the idea of a universal welfare payment with top-ups sounded fair, but it could be complex to administer.


No comments: