Graduate outcomes 2020: What do the class of 2018 do now?

Each year the Higher Education Authority releases data which analyses the first destination of university graduates. 2020 sees the 38th edition of this data, from a survey of over 29,580 students with qualifications between levels 8-10. Let's see what the 2020 report reveals.

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This report of the Graduate Outcomes Survey: Class of 2018 provides the findings of the second iteration of a sector wide analysis of higher education graduate outcomes in Ireland. Tracking graduate outcomes is at the forefront of national policy frameworks. Robust data on graduate destinations allows the HEA and higher education institutions to measure the early career development of graduates and forms an essential part of providing transparency and accountability for public investment.

The findings of this report show high levels of graduate employability for the 2018 graduate cohort, who were seeking employment at the end of 2018 and early 2019. In terms of the main destination of all graduates, there has been an increase in employment and an associated decrease in other outcomes since the class of 2017 findings.

For 2018 graduates, 80% were working or due to start a job (compared to 78% for 2017 graduates), 13% were engaged in further study (compared to 14% for 2017 graduates), 4% were unemployed (compared to 5% for 2017 graduates) and 3% were engaged in ‘other’ activities (compared to 4% for 2017 graduates). Similar to the class of 2017 findings, the analysis shows that higher educational attainment levels are linked to higher employment rates.

This report also offers valuable insights into the self-reported obstacles that many graduates face. Interestingly, for unemployed graduates, the most common barrier cited was a ‘perceived lack of experience’ (31%), followed by reasons related to a ‘competitive jobs industry’ (17%). Furthermore, for graduates engaged in ‘other’ activities, the most common barrier cited was ‘family reasons (including childcare)’.

Unfortunately, due to the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions introduced in higher education institutions on 12th March 2020, it was deemed necessary and appropriate to cancel the 2020 Graduate Outcomes Survey of 2019 graduates.

The survey is made up of students from the following institutions:

  • Athlone Institute of Technology
  • Cork Institute of Technology
  • Dublin City University
  • TU Dublin
  • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Technology Carlow
  • Institute of Technology Sligo
  • Institute of Technology Tralee
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology
  • Limerick Institute of Technology
  • Mary Immaculate College
  • Maynooth University
  • National College of Art and Design
  • National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • University College Dublin
  • University of Limerick
  • Waterford Institute of Technology

Download a copy of the 2020 report from the HEA website here.

You can also download reports from previous years and other publications here.

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