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'Just not true' that law grads have poor prospects: Broderick
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'Just not true' that law grads have poor prospects: Broderick

Elizabeth Broderick

Entry-level jobs at top-tier firms may be in decline but law graduates should not forget the wealth of new job opportunities that have opened up, according to Elizabeth Broderick.

Former sex discrimination commissioner Ms Broderick (pictured) highlighted the issue in her speech upon receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from UNSW this week.

Ms Broderick said: “Today's graduates can now work across a breadth of sectors never previously accessible to law and business graduates.”

“So don't let anyone tell you ‘oh, it’s such a shame there are no jobs for lawyers or commerce graduates today’. That's just not true,” she said.

Ms Broderick said as conditions are changing rapidly, there has never been a more exciting time to graduate and start work.

“When you pick up that newspaper tomorrow and read yet another disheartening story about the lack of job opportunities for business and law graduates, remember this: what’s often forgotten is the myriad of opportunities that exist today that didn't ever exist in the past.”

Ms Broderick highlighted her own role as sex discrimination officer from 2007-2015 as a position that didn't yet exist when she graduated in 1983.

She went on to say that, with the exception of ‘junior lawyer’, all of the positions she’s held throughout her career had not been created when she completed her studies.

As well as all the new opportunities, Ms Broderick explained how the way lawyers work has developed and changed over the years for the better.

“When I graduated, a job at a top law firm meant arriving at the office at 7.30am, making sure that the senior partner was well aware of your arrival, not clocking off before 8pm and then heading out for drinks with the client,” Ms Broderick explained.

“Luckily much has changed, and that has to be a good thing.”

She said employee satisfaction, productivity and attendance rates, as well as client satisfaction, has increased as a result of increasingly flexible work arrangements.

“Work and life should never sit at opposite ends of one hard choice,” she said. “Work is part of your life, but it should never be your whole life.”

Prior to her tenure as sex discrimination commissioner, Ms Broderick was also the age discrimination commissioner from September 2007 until July 2011. 

She said: “My experience as Australia’s age discrimination commissioner has taught me that the ageing nature of our current workforce will deliver immense opportunities for young people. That's a fact.”

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