Average wage beyond our graduates
Many put job security ahead of their salary expectations
BUSINESS, IT and engineering students at the country's top colleges don't expect to earn even the average wage in their first job, according to a wide-ranging new survey of graduate expectations.
Business students expect to earn, on average, a gross salary of just €28,955 in their first job, while the expectation is slightly higher for those studying engineering or IT at €33,905.
But both are less than the average annual wage of €35,873, as measured by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The survey of more than 4,400 students at 12 third-level institutions appears to show that their expectations have been tempered as they grew up during the economic downturn .
Almost two-thirds stated having a work-life balance was their career goal, while about half said they wanted to be secure and stable in their job.
But interestingly men still expect to earn more than women.
The survey by global research and advisory firm Universum found that male business students feel their first salary should be on average about €31,964, compared with €27,891 for women. In engineering and IT, it was €34,503 for men and €31,204 for women.
Joao Araujo, Universum country manager UK and Ireland, said the earnings gender divide exists around the world.
"It could be that men are more demanding," he told the Irish Independent.
"Usually money is more important for men than for women, so they could be more aggressive in the negotiating process."
Technology giants like Google, Apple and Facebook are ranked among the top companies to work for, while organisations as diverse as AIB, the Central Bank, Penneys, Aer Lingus and Enterprise Ireland are also on the wish list.
"What strikes me, although it is perhaps nothing new for Ireland, is that the technology sector completely dominates the preference of the engineering talent," Mr Araujo said.
"If you look at Germany you see the car industry, if you look at France it's the fashion industry, but in Ireland it's all about the tech companies. We were surprised to see how strong they were."
The top 10 ranked companies to work for students studying business or commerce were Google, Apple, Facebook, L'Oreal Group, KPMG, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Twitter, Microsoft and Deloitte.
Engineering and IT students favoured Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Intel, IBM, Twitter, Boston Scientific, Amazon and Dell as their top 10.
Google scored highest in the friendly work environment and creative and dynamic work environment categories.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch topped the opportunities for international travel and relocation category.
Ericsson ranked number one in the secure employment category.
Just over 40pc ranked innovation as being important, while 43pc said opportunities for travel or relocation was an important job characteristic.
About 49pc believed a friendly work environment was important, while 36pc wanted to see a clear path for advancement being set out.
The survey was carried out online between October last year and March of this year and distributed via college contacts, careers advisors, or social media.
Colleges involved included Trinity, University of Limerick, UCD, NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University and a number of Institutes of Technology.
Universum said the survey was open to students of all years in the colleges, with 33pc in their final year and 23pc from those graduating in 2015.