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Graduate employment levels

These are hard times for jobseekers, whatever their qualifications.

A survey on where graduates go, published as part of a Report on Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), showed that in the last quarter of 2009, 85pc of all Level 8-10 (honours bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and PhDs) graduates aged 25-34 were employed. This was a drop of 2pc since the first quarter of 2008.

Q: So how many people in the population are between 25-34 years of age?

A: According to the EGFSN report, 776,000 of the population were aged 25-34 in 2009. Of these, over 211,000, or 27pc, had attained a third-level qualification of Level 8 or higher, while a further 144,000 or 19pc had attained a Level 6/7 qualification.

Graduates of Level 6/7 programmes (higher certificate/ordinary degrees) are more likely to go on to further studies than to go directly into employment, with approximately three quarters of them continuing in education.

Q: What about employment rates of recent graduates?

A: A recent survey of the First Destination results from six of the seven Irish universities, carried out by the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), showed that 45pc of 2009 graduates went into employment, with another 44pc going on to further study and 6pc seeking employment.

In a recessionary graduate job market, the AHECS survey found that some graduates are opting to undertake unpaid internships. For new graduates, these internships can be an opportunity to develop employability skills and gain a foothold into the world of work.

In a separate survey, the AHECS found that 55.4pc of employers observed a lack of communication skills in students, 32.2pc of them highlighted an inability of recent graduates to work independently.

Students rated the following services of colleges' careers service as the most important: CV consultations, careers fairs, job interview preparation; careers service websites, employer presentations, and advice on achieving career goals.

Today gradireland hosts a graduates careers fair from 11am to 5 pm in the Main Hall, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, and many of its seminars will focus on precisely those topics.

Gradireland and its website, gradireland.com, identify work and study opportunities with employers and course providers in Ireland.

Other open days this week: Today is the second day of the two-day Limerick HEIs Open Days, with open days being held in the University of Limerick (UL), Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and Mary Immaculate College of Education, Limerick, as well as the National Counselling Institute of Ireland, Plassey Technology Park, Limerick. Tomorrow: American College Dublin hosts an open day from 9am-5pm. Also tomorrow: UCD Engineering will host an Open Evening for interested Fifth and Sixth Year students from 6.30pm in the UCD Engineering and Materials Sciences Centre, Belfield. Presentations about the engineering programme at UCD and careers talks will begin at 7.30pm. Dundalk Institute of Technology holds its open day on Friday, between 9am and 2.30pm. On Saturday, the Church of Ireland College of Education, Rathmines, Dublin 6, hosts an Open Day from 11am -- 1.30pm.

Irish Independent