Saturday 27 May 2017

Teaching and IT offer best route to a job

Australia falls out of top five destinations for graduates

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HEA chief Tom Boland: warned about risks of under-funding
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A teaching qualification is the best passport to employment for graduates, although many of them are still heading abroad to find work.

Computer science and technology graduates are also in huge demand, and highly likely to get a job in Ireland quickly after finishing college.

There has been a year-on-year jump from 51pc to 58pc in the proportion of university graduates with an honours bachelor degree going straight into employment, either at home or abroad.

The findings are contained in the annual survey by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on how graduates are faring in the spring after they leave college.

The latest 'What Graduates Do?' report looks at the outcomes for the class of 2014. The figures are likely to be better again for those who left college in 2015, but it will be another year before that data is published.

Many university honours bachelor degree graduates are now working at home - with 48pc employed in Ireland nine months later, up from 39pc the previous year.

The findings contrast with the outcomes for the honours bachelor degree class of 2009, only 45pc of whom were in a job in the spring of 2010, with a low of 37pc working in Ireland.

The turning tide of emigration is evident with a decline over a year, from 12pc to 10pc in the proportion working overseas, although that is still double the 5pc figure before the 2008 crash.

Most of those emigrating are going to the UK, with the USA the second most common working spot for Irish graduates abroad, while the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Singapore, China and France are also popular.

Australia has dropped out of the top five destinations for Irish graduates seeking work abroad. The previous year it was third on the list for honours bachelor degree holders and fifth most popular for those with a masters or doctorate qualification working overseas.

The slide of Australia down the table is likely to gladden the hearts of Irish parents, many of whose sons and daughters departed Down Under during the recession - and stayed because it feels like Ireland in the sun.

Poor employment opportunities at the height of the recession saw a steady rise in numbers going overseas for work, hitting a high of 12pc for the class of 2013.

Not surprisingly, Dublin is the region with the most employment opportunities, followed by the south west.

Computer science and technology graduates are most likely to get a job at home, with 66pc of the class of 2014 working in Ireland the following spring.

In a further reflection of the demand for these skills, they are also the best paid.

A teaching qualification provided the highest employment levels among graduates, although many of them also needed a passport in order to find work.

About 80pc of newly qualified teachers were in a job nine months later, but among those graduating with a Professional Diploma in Education (PDE), a requirement for teaching at second-level, some 18pc were working overseas.

High rates of casualisation for second-level teachers also resulted in 32pc of PDE holders and 26pc of graduates with an honours degree in education working on a part-time basis.

Drain

The drain of health services graduates, such as nurses, to overseas destinations is also evident in the findings.

As usual, the chances of getting a job are much greater for those who continue with post-graduate study - up to 76pc for those with a diploma and 78pc for masters or doctorate holders.

Overall, when university bachelor degree and post-graduate qualification holders are combined, 65pc - two-thirds of those who left college in 2014 - had a job nine months later, and 53pc were working in Ireland. Many graduates also continue on to further study.

Meanwhile, one-in-three of the growing number of international students are staying on to work in Ireland.

HEA chief executive Tom Boland said the report highlighted many positive outcomes for the class of 2014, but he warned of future risks to quality, and therefore, employability, if colleges are not better funded.

"A sustainable long-term ­approach to the funding of higher education is urgently needed," said Mr Boland.

Irish Independent

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