New data reveals increasing employment opportunities for university graduates

The results of 36th First Destination survey of University graduates was released on Friday, January 19th, revealing the results of data gathered from over 18,000 students who studied between levels 8 and 10, to determine their situation nine months after graduation.

The students surveyed attended one of the following third-level institutions: Dublin City University, University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland Galway, Dublin Institute of Technology, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra (DCU), St Angela’s College Sligo, Mater Dei Institute of Education. From next year, students from other Institutes of Technology will be included in the survey.

The data, collated by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), reveals increased employment for graduates both in Ireland and abroad. In line with  developments over recent years, graduates in the education sector tended to fare best in terms of getting a job, with a large proportion employed in Ireland. However, despite some improvements in the situation regarding permanent contracts, permanent teaching positions remain elusive for may graduates. Graduates in the tech sector continue to enjoy elevated levels of employment, complemented by higher than average salaries. Graduates from this sector also have the highest proportion of Honours Bachelor Degrees and are also amongst those with the highest proportion of Master’s and Doctorate qualifications currently working in Ireland. According to HEA Director Graham Love, this is in line with the objectives of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017, the ICT Skills Action Plan 2014-2018 and the National Skills Strategy 2025to meet demand for domestic supply of graduates in the tech sector and to ensure Ireland remains competitive and attractive for the technology industry. The level of salaries for those with a Level 8 qualification in the Arts & Humanities, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and statistical sectors is lower but the employment prospects in these sectors increase greatly for those who obtain Level 9 or 10 qualifications.

On a general level, 62% of of Honours Bachelor Degree graduates are in employment, similar to the 2015 data. The proportion of these graduates seeking employment has increased to 5% for the class of 2016, as opposed to 4% the previous year and those unavailable for work or study has increased to 5% for 2016 graduates as opposed to 4% for those of 2015. The number of those achieving Higher and Postgraduate Diplomas has dropped to 73% from 78% , with this impact likely related to the replacement of the Professional Diploma in Education with the Professional Master of Education.

The value of holding a third-level qualification is reinforced when we look at the CSO labour market data, which shows the unemployment rate for those with an Honours Degree or higher is at 3.1%, this compares to 8.5% of those with an Upper Secondary Education and 12.5% for those with a Lower Secondary Education. The full report is available to download here.

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