The Class of 2016

An Analysis of the First Destination of University Graduates

A report by the Higher Education Authority - January 2018

This edition of What Do Graduates Do? The Class of 2016 - An Analysis of the First Destination of University Graduates, is the 36th survey of graduates. The results of this survey are an important guide to graduate outcomes providing key information to a wide variety of stakeholders, including policy makers, academics, students and employers.

Over 18,200 students that graduated with level 8-10 qualifications in 2016 participated in this survey. Data was collected in March 2017 from these graduates to determine their situation nine months after graduation.

Employment rates for all graduates are up in 2017, with increases observed in both employment in Ireland and employment overseas. As expected, higher qualifications are associated with higher employment rates and often higher earning potential. Consistent with previous years, graduates in the Education field tend to fare best in terms of labour market outcomes. Many of these graduates emerge from Initial Teacher Education programmes and a large proportion are employed in Ireland. However, despite some improvements, such graduates find it difficult to secure permanent positions. Labour market outcomes for ICT graduates also continue to be favourable, with higher rates of employment and higher average salaries than most other graduates, nine months after graduation. ICT graduates also have the highest proportion of Honours Bachelor Degree graduates, and are amongst the highest proportion of Masters's and Doctorate graduates, employed in Ireland. 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 2025 to meet demand for the domestic supply of ICT graduates and to continue making Ireland the most attractive location in the world for ICT skills and ability. Lower rates of employment and lower earning potential are evident in the Arts and Humanities and Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics fields for level 8 graduates, but employment prospects improving considerably for graduates in these fields who obtain level 9 and 10 qualifications.

Specifically, 62% of Honours Bachelor Degree graduates are in employment, which is the same figure as that of 2015. The proportion of Honours Bachelor Degree graduates seeking employment has increased to 5% in 2016 from 4% in 2015 and those unavailable for work/study has increased to 5% in 2016 from 4% in 2015. The proportion of Higher and Postgraduate Diploma graduates in employment has dropped to 73% in 2016 compared to 78% in 2015. This is most likely due to the overall drop in Higher and Postgraduate Diploma graduate numbers with the replacement of the Professional Diploma in Education with the Professional Master of Education. In years previous, most of these Professional Diploma in Education graduates were in employment, nine months after graduation. 81% of Master's and Doctorate graduates are in employment, this compares to 80% for the class of 2015. In general, there has been an improvement in rates of employment for the class of 2016 compared to recent previous classes. A comparison to CSO labour market data also shows the benefits of obtaining a third level qualification. Based on 2017 Q2 CSO Quarterly National Household Survey data, the unemployment rate for those with an Honours Bachelor Degree or higher was 3.1%. This figure was 8.5% for those with an Upper Secondary education and 12.5% for those with a Lower Secondary education.

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