Graduate Outcomes survey 2022

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:23

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The Graduate Outcomes Survey is a collaboration between the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and higher education institutions. It surveys graduates 9 months after graduation.

What sectors are graduates in?

Amongst the data revealed, the survey takes a look at which industry sector graduates find employment in. The largest sector for 2019 graduates in the first year after graduation was ‘Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities’. 4,200 graduates were working in this sector in 2019, this is almost twice the number of graduates working in this sector in 2010.

The largest sector for the 2010 to 2017 graduation cohorts was ‘Wholesale & Retail Trade’. The number of new graduates employed in this sector has been steadily declining over time. There has also been a decrease in the number of graduates working in ‘Accommodation & Food Service Activities’ in the first-year post-graduation. The number fell from 2,300 for 2018 graduates to 1,800 for 2019 graduates. This is likely the result of the significant negative impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry in 2020.

Conversely, there has been an increase in the number of graduates working in ‘Education’ from 3,000 for 2010 graduates to 3,500 among 2019 graduates.

There has also been a large increase in graduates working in ‘Industry’, ‘Information & Communication’, ‘Public Administration & Defence’ and ‘Construction’ with graduates employed in these sectors doubling between 2010 and 2019. However, the number of graduates working in these sectors remains relatively low.

The survey then looks at where graduates were working ten years after graduation. According to the Graduate Outcomes Survey “Among 2010 graduates, the 'Education' sector was the second-largest sector of employment in the first year after graduating and the largest sector after three, five and ten years.” The increase in number of 2010 graduates working in education was nearly 50% after ten years.

There was also significant growth in the number of 2010 graduates working in ‘Public Administration & Defence’ and ‘Information & Communication’ sectors between the first and tenth year after graduation.

Contrastingly, ‘Wholesale & Retail Trade’, the most popular sector for 2010 graduates experienced a significant decrease in the number of graduates it employed, going from 4,100 to 1,700 in ten years. A similar trend was observed in the ‘Accommodation & Food Service Activities’ sector. Many of the graduates in these sectors may have been working part-time while furthering their studies. This would explain the significant drop in numbers.

Gender differences

Even in the first year after graduation, there are differences in the sectors in which male and female graduates work. The most popular sector for women who graduated in 2019 in the first year after graduation was ‘Health & Social Work’. This sector employed five times as many women as men. The education sector had twice as many female graduates as male.

On the other hand, the sectors which employed more male graduates include: 'Finance & Real Estate', 'Industry', 'Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities', 'Information & Communication' and 'Construction'.

These differences reflect the differences in preferred fields of study for male and female graduates.

Median earnings for 2019 graduates

The survey also looked at the average weekly income of graduates. The study observed an increase in median weekly income from €425 for 2010 graduates to €555 for 2019 graduates. Male and female graduates started with the same median income in 2010. However, in the years that followed, a gap emerged between male and female earnings with men making €20-€25 more per week between 2013 and 2015. In recent years, this gap has gone down to €15 a week.

Commenting on the report, Brian Stanley, Statistician, said: “Approximately 80% of 2019 graduates were in substantial employment in the first year after graduation with median earnings of €555 per week. This compares with 83% of 2018 graduates with median earnings of €530 per week. More than one-quarter of 2019 graduates were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for a period in 2020.”

Average weekly earnings for all graduates increased from €425 in the first year of graduation to €660 after five years to €960 after ten years. In the first five years after graduation, the weekly earnings of men and women were similar, five years after graduation, men made €15 more per week. This difference grew to €125 a week after ten years.

Sectors with the highest earnings

For 2019 graduates, those working in education had the highest income in the first year after graduation, earning €735 per week. This was followed by ‘Health & Welfare’ graduates who made a weekly income of €695 and ‘Information & Communication Technologies’, with €640 a week.

All graduates except those in ‘Education’ experienced an increase in weekly earnings between 2010 and 2019. Income for ‘Education’ graduates went down from €780 in 2010 to €735 in 2019.

The fields with the lowest median earnings were ‘Arts & Humanities’ with €435 per week and ‘Services’ with €460 per week a year after graduation.

For the cohort that graduated in 2010, ‘Education’ graduates had the highest median weekly income after graduation at €780. The next highest earners were ‘Health & Welfare’ and ‘Information & Communication Technologies’ graduates who earned a median income of €585 and €475 a week respectively in the first year after graduation.

In the ten years after graduation, ‘Information & Communication Technology’ graduates had the highest earnings at €1,165 per week. ‘Engineering, manufacture & Construction’ graduates followed with €1,605 a week followed by ‘Education’ graduates at €1,015 a week.

Earnings by NFQ level

The survey noted an increase in earnings with higher NFQ levels across all graduation years. Those with an ordinary bachelor’s degree earned €470 per week, followed by honours degree graduates at €555 per week. Those with a master’s degree or a postgraduate diploma earned €655 per week while those with a doctoral degree had the highest earnings at €815 per week.

Find out more about this survey and read the full report here .

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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