Graduate job market trends

light at the end of the tunnel

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

The current trends in the graduate jobs market mirror the uncertainty in the overall economy. Earlier in the year there was a definite pick-up in activity. This coincided with Ireland’s bail-out, the general election, and a cautious feeling that the worst may be behind us. Now that it is evident that the light at the end of the tunnel was merely a very large truck hurtling towards us, and that the problems in the Irish economy were an indicator of much wider and systemic economic travails across Europe, any recovery in the graduate jobs market has stalled.

Statistical analysis of graduate job trends as reflected in the opportunities on the website, September to November 2011:

The average number of jobs and graduate programmes listed each day on during this period has been 157. This is the same as the same period last year, but down from the average in April-June which was 202.

Which sectors are recruiting in Ireland?
Some sectors of the economy have been decimated by the recession – others are leading the domestic recovery. The top ten job sectors on during this period were:

  1. IT & technology (including telecoms)
  2. Engineering
  3. Accountancy & financial management
  4. Financial services (including banking & insurance)
  5. Marketing, advertising & PR
  6. Management, business & administration
  7. Retail, sales & customer services
  8. Science, research & development
  9. Manufacturing & processing
  10. Management consultancy.

Many of the opportunities in these sectors would entail the recruitment of multiple graduates into large graduate programmes during the ‘milkround’ month of October, as evidenced by the 3,900 jobs on view at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair in October.

Which sectors are targeting Ireland’s graduates to work abroad?

Many of the largest graduate recruiters in Ireland are multinationals, and recruit Irish graduates to work within their organisations across the world. Irish graduates are also perceived to be well educated, good communicators and to have strong language skills, and so are often targeted by employers from other countries. 16 per cent of the jobs advertised on during this period were based outside Ireland. The top ten sectors promoting opportunities abroad are:

  1. IT & technology (including telecoms)
  2. Financial services (including banking & insurance)
  3. Engineering
  4. Accountancy & financial management
  5. Management, business & administration
  6. Retail, sales & customer services
  7. Science, research & development
  8. Teaching & education
  9. Marketing, advertising & PR
  10. Management consulting.

Two things are noticeable here – the demand from the ‘professional services’ sector, who look for Irish graduates with sharp minds, commercial awareness and communication skills, often for large, international graduate programmes; and the inclusion of opportunities for teaching abroad, which is fuelled largely by TEFL companies targeting young Irish graduates as they have a proven willingness to travel and teach abroad.

What about opportunities for work experience and internships?
Interestingly the number of work experience and internships advertised on has halved since the Spring, and now comprise just 7.5 per cent of the opportunities on the site. Spring and Summer are always the main time to promote graduate internships, so some fall-off is anticipated, although it seems that some companies who might have promoted a graduate placement in previous years may be using the government’s JobBridge scheme. The sectors in which internships are promoted are quite different from the top sectors for jobs or working abroad:

  1. Marketing, advertising & PR
  2. IT & technology (including telecoms)
  3. Media & publishing
  4. Social, community & youth
  5. Engineering
  6. Financial services (including banking & insurance)
  7. Retail, sales & customer services
  8. Accountancy & financial management
  9. Charities & voluntary sector
  10. Hospitality, sport, leisure & tourism.

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