Graduate pay is on the rise but students must brush up skills
Lawyers and engineers best paid
Published 13/07/2014 | 02:30
Students starting out in their careers today are getting paid more and are finding it easier to get work, according to a new survey.
The research, by gradireland, which offers career advice to graduates, found that the salaries paid to students in their first jobs have increased for the first time since the recession.
In 2008, when the recession kicked in, the average starter salary for a graduate was €27,224. That salary fell consistently since then until 2013, when the typical salary paid to a graduate in their first job increased to €27,690.
The best-paid graduates are solicitors, engineers and scientists, according to the survey. Those graduating in law can expect a starting salary of €37,000 while engineering graduates can expect to earn €32,000 in their first job. The typical starting salary for a science graduate is €31,500.
There is a big demand for engineering graduates, according to Ruairi Kavanagh, editor of gradireland. "There's a consistent demand for people within engineering disciplines, particularly chemical engineering," said Kavanagh.
Some of the worst-paid graduates include those who have studied accountancy and construction, although starting salaries for these workers have increased over the last year.
The typical starting salary for an accountancy graduate is €22,000 while a student of construction can expect to earn €20,000 in their first job.
"Signs of economic recovery can be seen in sectors which suffered badly during the recession, namely retail, marketing, advertising and media, construction, and human resources, recruitment and training," states the survey. "Starting salaries in retail are up significantly, from €20,000 in 2012 to €23,500 in 2013. Construction is also up, from €18,000 to €20,000. Human resources, recruitment and training has seen a dramatic increase in terms of salaries, up to €26,000 from €20,000."
The economic recovery has started to improve job prospects for graduates. The average number of graduates hired by companies more than doubled in 2013, from 14 in 2012 to 33 last year. Almost two-fifths of companies said that a growth in business was behind their decision to recruit more graduates.
Accountancy and banking graduates have the best chance of getting a job. Almost a third of graduate jobs are in the field of accountancy and financial management, while about a quarter of the jobs were snapped up by banking and insurance graduates. A high proportion of graduate jobs also went to those who studied IT, telecoms, engineering and manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the skills shortage which has forced major Irish companies to look abroad for staff in recent years, is still a problem, according to the survey. Almost 34pc of the companies who hire graduates expect to find it difficult to fill jobs this year and next, up from 28.1pc last year. Most of the companies who expected to find it challenging to fill jobs cited a lack of applicants with the right skills. Almost half of graduate employers cited a skills gap in IT and technology as their main impediment to finding the right staff. "The concern is that this shortfall is in areas where there are most jobs," said Kavanagh.
Irish graduates are also falling behind on confidence and basic communication skills, such as writing and language. More than 40pc of employers said that graduates had poor communication skills, while about 25pc said they lacked confidence.
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