Narrowing salary gap between bachelor’s and master’s degree holders seen in Austria

The study also showed a persistent gender disparity among degree holders.

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The discrepancy in earnings between individuals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Austria is gradually diminishing, with the gap narrowing to a mere €200 (US$ 215), according to a recent study conducted by Statistics Austria.

The report said that the gross monthly salary for individuals holding a master’s degree in full-time positions one year post-graduation has shown a slight increase, rising from €3,100 (US$ 3,341) to €3,300 (US$ 3,357) between the academic years 2008-09 and 2020-21, the Erudera reported.

Conversely, those with a bachelor’s degree have witnessed a more pronounced growth in their monthly gross median income, escalating from €2,653 (US$ 2,859) to €2,986 (US$3,218) during the same period.

The data also indicated that while master’s graduates once enjoyed a substantially higher starting salary, the difference has now narrowed to approximately €200 in the academic year 2020-21.

“A degree is still a guarantee for a quick entry into professional life and a good starting salary. One year after a masterʼs degree, the median salary is just over 3,000 euros gross per month,” Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas said.

“Additionally, starting salaries after a bachelorʼs degree in the healthcare or social sector have increased significantly over the past 10 years,” he added.

Gender disparity in degree holders

However, the study highlighted a persistent gender disparity among degree holders. Men tend to earn comparable salaries to women holding master’s degrees within one year of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. 

This contrast is attributed partly to gender-based disparities in academic specialization, with men gravitating towards fields like computer science and engineering, which typically offer higher median incomes.

Conversely, women are overrepresented in fields such as social sciences and humanities, which typically offer lower remuneration. 

The report underscored a notable increase in starting salaries for bachelor’s graduates, particularly in fields like healthcare, social work, and education.

For instance, graduates in health and social work saw their salaries rise from €2,742 (US$ 2,955) to €3,263 (US$ 3,517) between the academic years 2008-2009 and 2020-2021. Similarly, education graduates experienced an increase from €2,683 (US$ 2,891)to €2,915 (US$ 3,146) during the same period.

Employment trends among graduates in Austria

Moreover, bachelor’s degree holders typically secure their first job within approximately two months post-graduation, while master’s graduates tend to find employment in under one month.

The employment rate for bachelor’s degree holders one year after graduation rose from 77.3 percent in the academic year 2008-09 to 81.8 percent in 2020-21. Likewise, the employment rate for master’s degree holders increased from 84.3 percent to 87.3 percent during the same period.

According to the previous data from the Graduate Tracking project in Austria, also conducted by Statistics Austria and a consortium of higher education institutions, four out of five university students secure employment within two years of completing their degrees. 

The unemployment rate among graduates from Austrian universities remains low, with only two percent remaining unemployed two years after graduation. 

Thomas highlighted the positive labor market opportunities for graduates in Austria, noting that only a small fraction face unemployment two years post-graduation. 

The data also showed a steady increase in employment rates, with 45 percent of graduates hired at the time of graduation, rising to 81 percent after one year, and reaching 82 percent after two years.

Higher education landscape in Austria

In the winter semester of 2022-2023, Statistics Austria recorded a total of 393,234 enrollments in Austrian higher education institutions, with 219,754 being women and 173,480 men. 

The data highlights a significant enrollment gap, with over 46,000 more female students than male students during that semester.

Austria’s reputation for offering an affordable and student-friendly education system has made it a popular destination for international students. 

Notably, the University of Vienna stands out as the largest academic institution in the country, boasting approximately 90,000 students. Among these students are individuals from 140 different countries, constituting one-third of the university’s total student body.

Based on a 2020 report from the University of Vienna, a substantial majority of active international students, accounting for 90 percent, hail from European countries.

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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