Most find work in Dublin, with tech sector paying best but the gender pay gap remains stubborn, Higher Education Authority survey shows
Employment rates for graduates have surpassed pre-pandemic levels – with 82pc working nine months after leaving college.
The strong rebound is highlighted in the annual Graduate Outcomes Survey, which provides a snapshot of what the class of 2021 were doing in spring 2022.
Most graduates are those with an undergraduate honours degree and more than three-quarters (76pc) were working, with nine in 10 (91pc) employed in Ireland.
The rate was even higher, at 90pc, for those with a post-graduate qualification.
Most undergraduate honours degree-holders found work in Dublin, with 43pc taking a job in the capital followed by Cork (14pc) and Galway (7pc).
The 82pc employment rate for all graduates is up from 76pc for the class of 2020 and 80pc for the class of 2018, while the rate of unemployment was down to 4pc.
A further 12pc were doing further study, while 2pc were engaged in other activities.
The survey is conducted by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), with 72,148 graduates from 23 third-level colleges responding to it.
The HEA also looks at early career earnings, which vary depending on field of study, socio-economic background, qualification, gender, sector and employment region.
Tech graduates were best paid, at an average €45,197 (all graduates), more than €7,000 above the average of €38,044.
Arts and humanities graduates reported the lowest, at an average €29,770.
A job in the transportation and storage sector also delivered above-the-norm rates, at an average €44,775, while those working in industry and construction reported averages of €41,460 and €41,977 respectively.
The sectors where graduates were paid the least were accommodation, food services and wholesale and retail trades.
The gender pay gap remains stubborn with men earning €40,556, compared with €35,790 for women, with some of the difference attributed to factors such as field of study.
Even when compared on a like-for-like basis, a gap remains, but is reduced (€39,320 v €36,899).
The data also provide insights into how graduates from affluent families tend to be paid more than those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This is often attributed to field of study, with, for instance, medical students overwhelmingly coming from the most affluent backgrounds, and social networks.
The overall difference in earnings between affluent graduates and those from disadvantaged areas was €4,123, but when compared on a like-for-like basis, the gap was reduced to €922.
Continuing to post-graduate study reaps rewards, with PhD holders on average salaries of €50,272 nine months after graduating, while a master’s graduate average was €43,383.
Working in Dublin also brought a premium, with an average salary of €39,226 for all graduates, while those in the Border region had the lowest average at €35,778.
HEA chief executive Dr Alan Wall said the report showed a strong labour market for recent graduates.