Outcomes of graduates with disabilities

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:24

Graduating student

The Higher Education Authority recently released a report detailing the outcomes of graduates with disabilities and comparing them to those of graduates without disabilities. It analysed data from the Equal Access Survey database and the Graduate Outcomes Survey. Their research provides a valuable resource for understanding how the post-graduation experiences of those with disabilities vary from those of graduates without a disability.

The report looks into whether students are in employment or have decided to pursue further education, the labour market sectors they are working in, contract types and average earnings post-graduation.

The findings

The study found that on average, 69% of students with disabilities were in some type of employment or due to start a job nine months after graduation. The figures varied between 57% and 74% depending on the type of disability. 74% of graduates without a disability were in employment nine months after graduation.

Similar proportions of both groups chose to pursue further study, with 20% of graduates with a disability furthering their education compared to 19% of graduates without a disability. However, only 17% of graduates with a learning disability chose to pursue further education, in comparison to 25% of graduates with multiple disabilities. 7% of graduates with a disability were not in either further education or employment, compared to 5% of graduates without a disability.

When looking at where graduates were working, the study found that 47% of graduates with a disability were employed in professional occupations, in contrast to 56% of graduates with no disability. For all graduates, the most common employment sector was Human Health and Social Work with 16% of both groups of graduates working in this sector. The sector with the largest difference was Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. This sector employed 12% of graduates with a disability, in comparison to 16% of graduates with no disability. 60% of graduates with no disabilities felt that their course was relevant to their job, in comparison to 56% of graduates with a disability.

Permanent contracts were the most common contract type for both groups. 56% of graduates with a disability and 55% of those with no disability had a permanent contract.

When looking at income, the study found that graduates with disabilities were more represented in the lower salary bands, up to salaries of €20,000-€24,999. In each band after that, graduates with no disabilities were better represented. The study also found that postgraduate graduates had a higher earning gap. 69% of postgraduate graduates without a disability earned less than €35,000 annually, compared to 65% of those without a disability. The figures stand at 80% and 78% respectively when looking across all degree levels.

The full report can be found here .

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