Students slam PayPal's view of graduates
THE head of the Union of Students of Ireland has rejected claims from one of the government's new jobs tsars that some graduates today have an attitude problem when in the workplace.
Earlier this week, PayPal chief Louise Phelan told the Irish Independent that while most graduates were humble and hard working, others carried a "sense of entitlement" with them and seemed to imply that companies should be happy to have them "just because they have a degree".
"They don't seem to realise that people without degrees are almost in the minority at this stage," she said.
USI president John Logue said her comments seemed to be based "almost entirely on anecdotal evidence and hear- say".
"The evidence suggests that Irish graduates are not lazy. They have realistic expectations as regards what to expect in an entry-level position and they are more than willing to learn new skills to meet the demands of their employers," he claimed.
While executives at Irish-based multinationals have routinely criticised the Irish education system for its lack of maths-based skills and foreign languages, Ms Phelan was the first to criticise the attitude graduates carried into the workplace.
Mr Logue, however, pointed to surveys that showed more than 70pc of employers thought graduates had realistic expectations about their position.
"The survey from gradireland.com indicated that the majority of graduates have lowered their expectations in this area to suit straitened times.
"The survey also reported that the median starting salary for a graduate in 2012 was €24,000-€25,999. This is down from its peak in 2008, when it was in the €26,000-€27,999 range.
"The responsibility for ensuring that graduates have the requisite skills for the workplace lies not only with individuals, but with the employer and our education system," he added.