A new face to guide you through the 2016 gradireland/postgradireland directory

It’s a hectic time here in gradireland, and this week the first two of our range of titles for 2016 have been sent off to the printers. Along with the 2016 Finance Sector Guide, we are very happy to send our 304 page, bigger and better, gradireland and postgradireland directory to print.








To help you guide you through the various sections, whether it be job hunting tips, career sector advice or postgraduate study help, we are delighted to introduce ‘gradman’, your perfect guide to the 2016 gradireland/postgradireland directory. Keep an eye out for it on your campus from mid-September!


We’ve a host of other titles off to print over the coming weeks, packed with careers and postgrad information. If you’ve missed any of our current publications, download them here.

UN intern story is a dramatic example, but the organisation should know better



When a story like that of David Hyde gains global coverage; a 22-year-old New Zealand graduate who said he had been living in a tent while on a United Nations internship, the long running debate about the merits of interning reignites.

Unfortunately much of the debate around internships is framed through a lens of ‘black and white’ divisions. The debate is shaped around whether an internship is unpaid (black) or paid (white). That doesn’t take into account the importance of internships as part of today’s HR processes, the complexity of the many structured programmes out there or the many positive internship stories. The fact is that gradireland’s own research of major graduate employers in Ireland shows that 86% of employers offer internships, and 93.5% of them pay. The average rate of payment was between €1,400 and €1,800 per month. Employers value interns greatly as part of their strategic recruitment objectives, as the employability skills learned contribute to their potential as future full term employees.

What this story does show is that the United Nations needs to get its house in order when it comes to how it is running its internship programme. Indeed, the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states;”everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration.”

Mr Hyde’s torrid experiences of living in a tent by Lake Geneva, one of the world’s most expensive cities, represents a PR disaster for the UN, but, in his own words – he accepted the job knowing what he wasn’t getting and that his decisions to accept the role, and indeed to subsequently quit, were purely his own decisions. “The UN was clear about their internship policy from the start. No wage or stipend, no transport help, no food allowance, no health assistance. I understood this, and in that regard I have to take responsibility for accepting the internship in the first place.” It subsequently came to light that he had planned to live in the tent to publicise the situation which UN interns were facing. So while his planned publicity stunt, that was obviously going to precipitate serious financial hardship, does colour the story it doesn’t excuse the UN for operating its internship programmes in such a manner. An organisation such as the UN depends on diversity in order to realise its objectives, under its current modus operandi for interns, it can only really attract affluent students from developed nations. Notoriously slow and bureaucratic, it’s unlikely that Mr Hyde’s story will act as a silver bullet to address this situation. UN officials, responding to the story, said that change to their internship programme would have to be submitted as formal proposal to the General Assembly. They did however say that while the Secretariat in Geneva did not pay anything to interns, other parts of the United Nations did.

The UN, by its very nature, is an idealistic organisation, for all its many faults. In this case, it has displayed itself as faceless, bureaucratic and cold. While Mr Hyde must share a large portion of the blame, it’s not really acceptable for the planet’s only global organisation to reward the enthusiasm of today’s graduates, who want to contribute the organisation, in this manner.

For more on what you should expect as an intern, and how you can make the best of the experience, visit here. It is the policy of gradireland to only advertise paid internship positions.


Skills supply report points to particular graduate opportunities in science, IT and health


‘Monitoring Ireland’s Skills Supply 2015’ is the tenth in a series of reports produced by SOLAS on behalf of the Expert Group for Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). The purpose of the report is to provide an overview of the skills profile of the population.

The main findings of the report point to the fact that there are over one million qualification holders, or a third of the population, who have studied in one of the following areas:

  • (SSBL) Social science, business & law (including commerce)
  • Accountancy
  • Marketing
  • Business management

Further to this, another 320,000 persons have post-secondary qualifications, with engineering/construction, such as craft awards, accounting for a third.

Areas of opportunity

Science: Highly-skilled professionals such as actuaries, statisticians and teachers are particularly in demand in this field.

Engineering and construction: The difference between those with post-secondary qualifications and those with third level qualifications is much smaller in these areas, with the report revealing employment rates almost as high for those with qualifications such as apprenticeships, as for graduates.

SSBL: The career paths in this sector, according to report are very much determined by the level to which the candidate has studied.  However, there are many business related occupations which have been identified as experiencing shortages and growth prospects are positive for the financial and professional services sectors.

Health/welfare: There are high levels of employment for graduates with the right qualifications in this field. Employment opportunities in the health sector are mostly in government funded organisations; although there have been limited opportunities in recent years due to restricted healthcare budgets, demand for these skills are expected to be sustained and most likely to increase.

Education: Third level graduates are very much in demand for certain posts in this area and there is a higher than average proportion of recent university graduates employed overseas in the education sector. However at home, employment opportunities depend very much on government policy and funding according to the report. Demand for educational professionals is also affected by the size of the school going age population; “these factors will impact on the demand for teachers in the coming years,” says the report.

Arts/humanities: Graduates in these fields are most likely to continue their studies, specialising in a particular area, according to the report. The report also says that arts/humanities graduates may be more flexible in meeting labour market needs “but they may also be susceptible to having to accept lower skilled employment as many arts/humanities courses do not have a vocational element.”

Services: Tourism and hospitality is a sector highlighted by the report as one which presents significant opportunities to graduates. The report adds that while graduates in this area do find employment opportunities, it is a sector particularly affected by the economic climate.

The report comes only a short time after its companion research, the National Skills Bulletin, was released. Read our article on the Bulletin here.  For more on sector based advice from graduates, visit our sector hubs.


New National Skills Bulletin 2015 shows continued improvement in the Irish labour market and identifies job sectors in demand



The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) today (17th July 2015) published the National Skills Bulletin 2015, which provides an overview of employment trends at occupational level.

The report shows that, with the economic recovery strengthening, shortages are intensifying in some of the well-known areas that we have blogged about previously (ICT, engineering, sales/customer care, logistics, health, business and finance); and gaps are also emerging in new areas such as hospitality and construction. It therefore follows that these are key areas for graduates to target for employment.

Key Findings:

Where are the skills shortages?

  • Professionals/graduate positions including:
  • ICT (software developers, cloud, databases/big data, testing, security, technical support, networking and infrastructure)
  • Engineering (production, process, quality, validation, product design/development, electronic, electrical, mechanical and chemical)
  • Science (biochemistry, biotechnology, pharma co-vigilance, product development)
  • Business & finance (risk, compliance, accounting, business intelligence, data analytics)
  • Health (doctors, nurses, radiographers, niche area specialists including prosthetists and radiation therapists, and managers)
  • Construction (surveyors)
  • Clerical (multilingual credit control/debt control and supply chain)
  • Sales (technical sales, multilingual customer support, online sales and marketing)
  • Skilled trades (chefs, tool making, welding (TIG, MIG), butchers/de-boners, steel-erector).

More detailed information on all of these sectors can be found on the gradireland Sector Pages at http://gradireland.com/career-sectors; and you can browse and investigate specific job descriptions and career paths at http://gradireland.com/careers-advice/job-descriptions.

The National Skills Bulletin 2015 is available to download from the EGFSN website,
www.skillsireland.ie/Expert-Group-on-Future-Skill-Group/Publications/2015/National Skills Bulletin 2015.html

gradireland’s publications for 2016 taking shape!

We’re hard at work all summer here in gradireland, producing another suite of publications for the 2015/16 academic year. As always, we’ve been collaborating with students, academics, postgraduate study providers and employers to ensure our products continue to deliver comprehensive careers advice, insider tips and employer insights for students, graduates and job-seekers.


In September 2015, our flagship publication, the gradireland Directory, will be released on campuses throughout Ireland. The ‘must have’ aide for job-seekers, graduates and postgrad students; we’re focusing on providing you with all the information, practical tips and advice that you’ll need. Above is the cover for the 2016 edition, and we’ll be releasing other sneak previews of our forthcoming titles in the near future. In the meantime you can download all the current editions here.

Predict conference to connect graduates to careers in data science

Cronan McNamara, organiser of the upcoming ‘Predict’ conference, explains why data, and data science is so important in the digital age.
Cronan McNamara
As computing power increases exponentially, storage costs plummet and broadband speeds accelerate a new era for data and data analytics has been born.

Almost everything we do generates data, from Google searches to online shopping but it’s not only restricted to online. Our daily activity regime can be crunched into helpful health indicators while tailored diets can be generated from the analysis from multiple data sets.

Our data is also extremely valuable which is reflected in the platforms (and profit levels) that organisations like Facebook and Google offer.

Although access to data has now reached astronomical levels, we have always lived with more data than we could handle.  Businesses have been gathering and trying to make sense of it using spreadsheets for over 30 years since the first Excel package arrived on the scene. Most of the time this data is poorly utilised, mainly due to lack of skills sets and tools.  There is a huge difference between data and insightful decision making.

We are now exposed to a wall of data which can be overwhelming.  We need help in digging through this information, seeing trends, getting insight and turning data into knowledge.  This is the new world in which the ‘Data Scientist’ (the sexiest job of the 21st century) is king.

The world of the data scientist is not all about algorithms, statistics and advanced mathematics.  Numbers when visualised can be much more powerful and we still need people who can interpret and communicate the information to really make it meaningful.

Data science is a cross-disciplinary activity which needs input from scientists, programmers, statisticians all the way to marketing, business analysts and the humanities.

Due to the specialised nature of the data science industry, it can be hard to get a good overview of the breadth of opportunities and the interesting work being carried out in the sector across industry, research and government.

With all this in mind we have created the Predict Conference to celebrate the rise of data analytics in Ireland, to make the data science industry accessible and to connect graduates with business opportunities.

However I did not want to just create another conference, so instead we have created an experience that spans 6 months and includes webinars, articles, networking,  match-making, data clinics, data set analysis, access to a new data modelling platform and post conference eBook and revisions webinars.

All of this for the early-bird student price of the two-day event ticket where you will meet over 30 speakers from all over the world outlining their data analytics and decision making methods, engage in active discussions with stimulating panels and witness first hand the power of data on the exhibition floor.

One of the pioneers of the industry will be there; John Elder, the founder and president of Elder Research. His work is required reading on many data related courses, revealing how data and predictive analytics are transforming business in a number of surprising areas.

Look out for our upcoming free webinars and for the main event in September.

Cronan McNamara is Founder and CEO of Creme Global and organiser of Predict.
Cronan holds a BSc in Physics from University College Dublin (UCD), an MSc in High Performance Computing from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), a post graduate diploma in International Sales from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and a certificate of completion from the CEO Accelerated Growth Programme in the Judge Business School in Cambridge University.

For more information on careers in IT, download the gradireland IT Sector Guide here.

How to express yourself with confidence in an interview


Confident communication skills help us to make and maintain good connections. They are essential for securing a job and vital traits once you are employed. Each year the gradireland Graduate Salary & Recruitment Trends Survey reveals communication to be one of the core areas of concern for employers when it comes to graduate recruits. In an interview situation, nerves and stress can be a factor, no matter whether it is your first interview or your fifth. But you have the capability to communicate confidently, you just need to know how to and when. To enhance your communication skills during an interview, EMPLOY the following tips;

  1. Eye contact. It is important to smile and to make eye contact with your interviewer/interviewers as you meet them and throughout the interview process. This creates a non-verbal connection between you and them, it inspires their trust in you and conveys your confidence and people skills.
  1. Modulate your voice. We can all develop the habit of speaking in the same tone. By modulating or changing our voice we keep people’s interest. It gives the impression that we are interested in and enthusiastic about what we have to say. People want to work with interested and interesting people. There are a number of skills you can use to achieve this variety. The first way is to raise the pitch (height and depth) of your voice when making a new point. Think of it like telling a story, some parts require more emphasis, and a different pitch, than others.
  1. P Don’t be afraid to pause before answering a question, or during an answer. It will give you a chance to gather your thoughts, take a breath if needed, stay or regain calm and allow your interviewer to absorb what you have said. By practising pause, pre-interview, it can help you to identify filler words to avoid, such as “Eh…. Um…. Like”, and filter them out of your vocabulary! Don’t worry about creating tumbleweed moments; a pause will feel much longer to you than to your listener. Pausing can stop panic in its tracks and communicates confidence and that you are comfortable with taking the time to think before responding.
  1. L Being an engaged listener is an essential communication skill. Taking the time to comprehend and be interested in what is being said ensures that you can take in what is being asked. Listening intently keeps you focused, calm and in the present, enabling you to think more clearly and to express yourself more effectively.
  1. Open Your Mouth. When you get nervous, your jaw becomes susceptible to tension, which means we may not open our mouth freely, resulting in our words sounding mumbled. Alleviate this tension by yawning, massaging the hinges of your jaw and stretching your face. Just make sure you do it pre-interview! Sometimes it’s just a matter of focus; remembering to loosen up and articulate yourself properly. As you practise for interviews, exaggerate your articulation by “over” opening your mouth. It may feel over the top, but this is just to get your speech moving and out of your mouth and it won’t sound or look nearly as strange as it might feel! An Open Posture is a confident posture. It features chin parallel with the floor, shoulders unraised and back, arms and legs uncrossed and top it off with a firm handshake. Before your interview, find a private space to practise a power posture by standing with your feet more than hip width apart and your hands on your hips, or raised in the air, creating a V shape.
  1. Your attire. Bare in mind, as you dress to impress, that you will express yourself best when you are comfortable. Have a dress rehearsal as you practise your interview to ensure that you can move, sit, breathe and speak easily. Every little helps in interview situations so give yourself the best possible chance.

Emma Coogan helps people to express themselves clearly, with confidence and charisma. She runs the Emma Coogan School of Speech and Drama. Visit her on Facebook or keep up to date with Emma on Twitter. For some videos on confidence techniques that work, have a look here .

Read here for more practical interview advice and tips from gradireland


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