Emigration rate of UCC graduates doubles

THE rate of emigration among graduates of one of the country’s biggest colleges has almost doubled in two years, as one-in-eight picked up work overseas within nine months of finishing degrees at University College Cork.

The data shows a 12% of primary degree graduates who qualified in 2009 had found work in another country by last spring, up from 7% in 2007.

It is also considerably higher than the 9% of 2009 graduates at all Irish colleges who were working overseas in figures highlighted by the Irish Examiner last August.

Two-thirds of UCC’s 4,288 graduates in 2009 responded to the survey as part of a comprehensive study each college must complete annually for Higher Education Authority (HEA) statistics, with more than 2,600 having completed primary degrees (level 8/honours bachelor degree).

Preliminary HEA figures show the national figures for emigration of recent level 8 graduates are in line with those last seen in the mid-1990s. But, along with the University of Limerick, UCC’s figures are well above the national average.

Of the UCC graduates working overseas last year, more than two-thirds were employed in Britain with 10% in other European countries, 6% in the US or Canada.

Similar overall proportions of recent UCC graduates were working overseas in the spring of 2006, but had fallen to just 7% for the class of 2008.

A report on the statistics from UCC’s careers advisory service shows that 44% of 2009 graduates were in employment last spring, down from 46% for the previous year’s cohort and from 51% for the classes of 2006 and 2007. But the numbers looking for work were down from 7% to 5% on the previous year, as the proportion who were furthering their studies rose from 41% or 42% in each of the previous four years to 49%.

The highest rate of graduates seeking employment at home or abroad was among those who had completed degrees in UCC’s College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, at 8%. At the other end of the scale, all 399 medicine and health college graduates were either working (92%), in further study (6%) or not available for either (2%).

Almost two-thirds of UCC’s 2009 graduates from the college of arts, Celtic studies and social studies had gone on to improve their qualifications.

“The numbers in work or further study have been very similar for the last couple of years but graduates are definitely much more focused now on further study. Most are staying in Ireland to study, either here at other colleges,” said UCC careers service administration manager Mary O’Brien.

“We are seeing big interest in our careers’ boot camps this year as final year students seek tips on how to get work in the very competitive jobs market,” she said.


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