Graduate - For some just out of college, the jobs front looks positive

Date Uploaded: 06/02/2016

Is the narrative about continuous youth emigration finally changing? The demand for skilled graduates is up this year


Here’s some good news. Careers experts say the graduate jobs market is stronger than it has been for almost a decade and, despite high youth unemployment, some of those who are fresh out of college may have their pick of jobs.


“Employers are very interested in our graduates at the moment,” says Yvonne McLoughlin, head of Dublin City University’s careers service. “They are contacting us from finance, business, law, engineering, pharmaceuticals and IT. Languages are also in high demand.”


Graduate Soft skills

Don’t just focus on a career area, McLoughlin advises, urging graduates to consider what skills they have and how they can put these to use.


“Softer skills such as critical thinking, commercial awareness and leadership potential are also important. We tell students, during their time at university, to build up work experience and employment skills and get involved in extracurricular activities. Volunteering and going abroad are other ways of developing these skills, and employers value them.”


Deirdre Parker, careers adviser in the Student Development and Employability Services at University College Cork, says the graduate job market is continuing to improve. This year, 1,800 graduate vacancies were advertised through the UCC service – 200 more than last year.


“The continued demand for graduates echoes the findings of recent public and private labour market reviews,” Parker says. “As the demand for graduates increases, employers are facing challenges in filling their graduate recruitment quotas for 2015.”


The National Skills Bulletin, published last May, reported an increase in vacancies for professional roles in IT, engineering, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, health, business and financial services.


More good news. “Regulatory changes in financial services have led to increased graduate opportunities in risk and compliance, and an evolving international tax environment maintains a strong demand for graduate tax roles in the professional services sector,” says Parker.


“Two-thirds of the roles that are difficult to fill were professional roles, and two-thirds of these, in turn, are IT roles such as software programmers and developers, IT business analysts, cloud computing specialists, web designers and network engineers.


“Other highly sought-after professionals include production and process engineers, chemical engineers and scientists, business and finance professionals and medical and health professionals including doctors, nurses and radiographers.”


Language Graduates

Parker says some graduate roles require a combination of two distinct but complementary areas of expertise, such as engineering and science, maths and IT and languages and finance.


“Many graduates choose postgraduate conversion courses that provide them with skills and knowledge in a new discipline to enhance their existing qualifications, skills and job prospects.”


Recruiters are also desperate for language graduates, with German the most frequently mentioned on Irish job sites, followed by French, Spanish and Dutch.

“This year, we surveyed employers and found that, for the first time, having a fluency in a foreign language was the most prized attribute a graduate could have,” says Mark Mitchell.


This was closely followed by leadership skills. “Employers, many of whom have their European headquarters in Ireland, value broad skills. Irish graduates are good communicators; if they have a foreign language allied with good academic skills, they could be a future leader. The biggest decision this year’s graduates may be making is who they want to work for.”


Journalist: Peter McGuire

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