Ireland’s largest ever student survey reveals rising student optimism



October 1st sees the publication of the 12th annual edition of Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers. Ahead of the launch, we take a look at some of the key trends and topics identified by the students surveyed for this publication.

For Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers 2018/2019, gradireland surveyed 14,818 students from 24 HEIs across Ireland. The survey asks students which organisation they are most likely to apply to upon graduation, as well as a range of questions designed to give us an understanding of Irish students’ career thinking.

An optimistic outlook

With continuing economic growth leading to an increased range of career options across multiple sectors of industry and business, this year’s students are the most optimistic in several years when it comes to their careers.

Of the students we surveyed, 70% were studying a Bachelor level degree, 21% were involved in postgraduate study, with 2% studying at PhD level. Whereas last year more than half the students surveyed (52%) believed that it would be hard to get a good job after they graduated, this year that figure dropped to 35%, a sure sign of confidence amongst final year students as to where their degree can take them. Students from strong job sectors such as engineering, banking, accountancy, consulting and technology were the most optimistic when it came to landing a job after college.

What is important to the class of 2018?

In a notable increase from last year’s 57%, 76% of finalists believe that their degree prepares them well for a career in the sector they wish to work in. Sectors such as science, consulting, engineering, renewable energy and finance had the highest levels of satisfaction in terms of the skills for work with which their degree had equipped them.

Mobility and retention

When it comes to how long students plan to stay in their first graduate job, 30% plan to stay two years, and 27% believed they would stay at least three years. Only 9% planned to stay just one year in their first place of employment and on the other end of the scale, only 6% thought they would stay longer than six years.


There is a strong entrepreneurial streak amongst the class of 2018, with 21%, saying that they were considering setting up their own business either during or straight after their studies.

Do you agree? Have your say by taking part in this years’ survey!

The 2018/19 edition of Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers will be published online on on October 1st.

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