More than a third of Australian university graduates in the creative arts believe their qualification has little to do with their jobs, says a new report from Graduate Careers Australia.
By contrast more than 90 percent of health and education graduates thought their piece of paper was vital to the work they were doing three years out of university.
Those emerging with engineering, architecture and agriculture degrees were also highly likely to rate their qualifications as important for the work they did.
One year out of university, IT graduates were the least likely to report an overlap between their qualification and employment (59 percent), but by 2012, three years out, this figure had risen to 70 percent.
A mismatch between degree and employment did not necessarily mean graduates were in "unrewarding jobs" at odds with career goals, GCA says.
The Beyond Graduation 2012 report tracks graduates who finished in 2008, and compares their situation in 2009 with that last year.
Drawing on almost 13,000 responses from the products of 39 institutions, the report shows improved employment results over time.
In 2009, only 59 percent of creative arts graduates in the market for full-time jobs had managed to find one; this rose to 88 percent by 2012.
For natural and physical sciences, the full-time job success rate rose from 63 percent in 2009 to 86 percent in 2012.
Graduates in fields such as health, education, IT, engineering, agriculture and management enjoyed full-time job rates in excess of 90 percent last year.
The median graduate salary was $66,000 in 2012, up 32 per cent on the 2009 figure.
Engineering graduates three years out had the highest median salary last year ($80,000) and those from creative arts the lowest ($50,000).
The pay gap between male and female graduates was narrowest in creative arts.