Monday 20 August 2018

Regional 'brain drain' as half of graduate jobs now based in Dublin

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Almost half of all graduate jobs are now in Dublin, as the national employment market becomes increasingly lopsided.

The Cork region is also a big magnet for university graduates, but many other areas are not offering the same opportunities.

Improving prospects for graduates are confirmed in the latest of a series of annual reports from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The 'What do Graduates Do? The Class of 2016' study provides a snapshot of the employment status and earnings in spring 2017 of those who graduated from an Irish university with an honours bachelor degree in 2016.

According to the report, Dublin accounted for 42pc of honours bachelor degree graduate employment last year.

This was well ahead of its 28pc slice of the population recorded in Census 2016.

The capital is followed by the south-west, predominantly Cork, where 17pc of employed graduates found work.

But a big drop in the number of employed graduates working abroad - down to 8pc from 20pc three years previously - is among the most positive messages.

The proportion of graduates walking straight into a job in Ireland is back at pre-recession levels. Some 62pc were working nine months after finishing college - up from 48pc in 2011/12.

But while emigration has fallen, more and more jobs for university graduates are concentrated in the capital.

HEA chief executive Graham Love said that while the study did not include graduates from the institutes of technology - it will from next year - which are significant players in regional development, "there is concern that more university graduates are not being employed in the regions".


He pointed to the planned development of technological universities as one element in addressing this.

The scale of how Dublin is hogging the jobs is evident from a comparison with previous years. The 42pc figure compares with 33pc in 2013/14 and 37pc in 2014/15.

The study shows that 54pc of university honours bachelor degree holders in 2016 were employed in Ireland, and 8pc were employed overseas.

Another 31pc were in further studies, 3pc were unavailable for work and fewer than 5pc were seeking employment.

Of all those in employment, 42pc were in the Dublin region and 17pc in the south-west - Cork and Kerry, but predominantly Cork.

The western counties of Galway, Roscommon and Mayo accounted for 9pc of the jobs, while the mid-west - Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary - also had a 9pc share.

Only 4pc of working graduates found employment in the south-east counties of Wexford, Waterford, South Tipperary, Carlow and Kilkenny.

The figure for the Border region - Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth, was 3pc, and in the Midlands - Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly- it was 2pc.

The study also shows graduate salaries are rising, with 56pc of honours bachelor degree holders starting on between €25,000 and €45,000, up from 50pc the previous year.

Irish Independent

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