Tuesday 26 March 2019

Teachers top the pay league for new graduates but gender pay gap remains

  • Survey also reveals scale of gender pay gap - with men earning €4,000 more than women after college
  • UK remains most popular overseas work destination
It also shows that the gender pay gap remains an issue for graduates, with a difference of almost €4,000 recorded between young men’s and women’s pay. Stock Image: PA
It also shows that the gender pay gap remains an issue for graduates, with a difference of almost €4,000 recorded between young men’s and women’s pay. Stock Image: PA
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Teachers top the pay league for all graduates and have the best chance of walking straight into a job after college, a new survey reveals.

It also shows that the gender pay gap remains an issue for graduates, with a difference of almost €4,000 recorded between young men's and women's pay.

The Higher Education Authority's (HEA) survey confirms that average starting salaries hit €38,701 for graduates from education courses.

They pip the typical pay packet of €36,000-€37,000 for those with an engineering or computing degree.

The teachers' pay figures will raise eyebrows at a time of an ongoing campaign to end two-tier salary scales in the profession.

But the unions' focus now is on a cohort employed between 2011 and 2014, who were lagging behind in last year's deal on new entrants' pay.

The survey looks at salaries across each sector. This gives an average figure which does not capture the higher salaries earned by graduates in some professions, such as law.

While the jobs and pay outlook is rosiest in the education sector, the latest figures also show a step-up in graduate employment prospects generally on the back of the strengthening domestic labour market.

Overall, almost four in five (78pc) of the class of 2017 were working within nine months. The higher up the qualifications ladder they were, the greater their chances of rapidly securing employment.

Some 90pc of working  graduates were in Ireland, with the UK the most popular destination for those working abroad, the latest survey reveals.

Of the rest, 14pc were in further education or training, 5pc were seeking work and up to 4pc were engaged in other activities such as travel.

The Higher Education Authority's Graduate Outcomes Survey gives a detailed breakdown of how the class of 2017 was faring in March 2018.

It follows a series of similar surveys called First Destinations that focused mainly on the universities, but this one covers institutes of technology and other colleges, and students at all levels of higher education.

Graduates were asked what they were doing, where they were working, how much they were earning, as well as their views on their course of study.

With more than 29,000 responding, it paints a rich picture.

While the results are not directly comparable with First Destinations, the figures indicate higher employment and lower unemployment rates when compared with previous years.

They also confirm a strong student appetite to build on an initial qualification, in response to demands from employers, and society in general, for ever higher levels of skills and knowledge.

It pays off for the individual too, with better job prospects and higher salaries.

A detailed breakdown of the figures shows that 75pc of honours degree graduates - the biggest single cohort of graduates - were working in March 2018, rising to 86pc and 91pc for those with a post-graduate qualification. Male and female graduates had the same chances of getting a job, but there was a salary gap with males averaging €35,601 compared with €31,668.

There was little difference in employment outcomes between all graduates of universities and institutes of technology, although the former tended to have higher salaries, the survey shows.

Looking at honours degree graduates alone, those from institutes of technology were more likely (80pc) to be working than those from universities (71pc).

But 22pc of university graduates were continuing to study.

Among Level 6/7 (higher certificate/ordinary degree graduates), some 23pc were working, while the majority, at 73pc, continued to higher levels of study. Level 6/7 graduates who were working had higher average starting salaries than Level 8 graduates, reflecting strong demand for their skills in areas such as engineering, agriculture, health/welfare and services.

Other findings include:

  • Some 93pc of education graduates were working, followed by health and welfare (87pc), ICT (82pc) and engineering (82pc);
  • Arts and humanities graduates had the lowest employment rate (63pc) and lowest average salaries at €24,728; they were among the highest percentages in further study (24pc);
  • Most honours degree graduates started on between €20,000 and €35,000, with most between €30,000-€35,000;
  • Postgraduates had highest average salaries at €40,840 and €45,325, for masters and doctorate graduates;
  • Some 43pc of working honours degree graduates in Ireland were working in Dublin, with 14pc in Cork.

HEA chief executive Paul O'Toole said there was "clearly a demand in Ireland for the high quality graduates that are coming out from our higher education institutions.

"Skilled graduates are going to continue to be essential for our talent-driven economy and to help meet societal challenges," he added.

Irish Universities Association director general Jim Miley said given the rapidly growing numbers of students in our universities, "we need to ensure adequate investment in Irish higher education to ensure these positive graduate outcomes can be further enhanced".

Irish Independent

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