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Educational News - Graduates getting jobs quickly - and more staying in Ireland

Date Uploaded: 15/02/2017

Growing numbers of graduates are walking into jobs at home soon after leaving college.

Almost two in three - 62pc - of those who left university in 2015 with an honours bachelor degree were employed the following spring, including 53pc of graduates working in Ireland. It represents a jump from 58pc and 48pc respectively a year earlier, according to new report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

A striking feature of the figures is the strengthening prospects at home for technology graduates - now on a par with traditional professions, such as teaching. They are also more likely to command higher starting salaries.

The scene is in sharp contrast with the outcomes for the recession-hit class of 2009. That year, only 45pc of honours bachelor degree graduates were employed by spring, with only 37pc in Ireland.

The trends are tracked in 'What Do Graduates Do: The Class of 2015', the latest annual analysis of the first destination of university graduates, based on what they are doing nine months after leaving college.

A degree in education remains the quickest route to a job, and the data shows a big growth last year in those working in Ireland, rather than going abroad. After education, at 72pc, the discipline with the highest proportion of honours degree graduates working at home was information and communications technology (ICT), at 70pc, ahead of health and welfare at 67pc.

It is not only the chances of getting a job that are rising, so too are salaries, with a year-on-year drop, from 49pc to 47pc, in honours bachelor degree holders being paid less than €25,000. As education increases, so too does salary, and this figure drops dramatically to 15pc for doctorate graduates. ICT graduates were also most likely to be higher-paid, with 31pc earning between €29,000-€33,000 - ahead of those in health, engineering, manufacturing and construction - and 27pc on €33,000 or more.

Arts and humanities bachelor degree graduates were the least well paid, with 21pc on less than €13,000.

Overall, 10pc of graduates went overseas for work, down from 11pc the previous year, although a higher proportion, 15pc, of those with health/welfare qualifications emigrated. The UK is the most popular destination, followed by the US.

The figures confirm the strong link between level of qualification and immediate job prospects: 80pc of master's or doctorate graduates and 78pc of those with a higher or post-graduate diploma were in employment nine months after graduating in 2015. When all graduates, from honours bachelor degree to doctorate level, are included, 68pc were working in spring 2016, with 57pc in Ireland and 11pc overseas.

Graduates not working are not necessarily seeking employment, with 31pc of honours bachelor degree holders continuing their studies in spring 2016. The figure for those seeking employment was 4pc, down from 8pc for the class of 2010.


Journalist: Katherine Donnelly