IT graduates are more likely get work and earn more soon after college

IT graduates are more likely than most to get work soon after college and earn much more than all others in the year following their degrees.

The statistic emerges from a survey of those who completed studies at universities, colleges of education and Dublin Institute of Technology in 2016. Asked about their status nine months later, the highest employment rates were among those with a primary degree in teaching (85%) and ICT (81%).

Nearly 40% of those with ICT degrees were earning at least €33,000, significantly higher than next-best graduates under headings of engineering, manufacturing and construction, and health and welfare. Just 28% of those with degrees in those categories were being paid over €33,000.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) data are based on responses to an early-2017 survey by more than 18,200 graduates up to PhD level.

HEA chief executive Graham Love said higher qualifications are associated with higher employment rates and often higher earning potential. As in previous years, those emerging with degrees and postgraduate qualifications in teaching tend to have some of the best labour market outcomes, and significant proportions of them have secured work in Ireland. “However, despite some improvements, such graduates find it difficult to secure permanent positions,” Mr Love said.

This is reflected in the fact that just 7% of recently-qualified teachers were earning over €33,000, the lowest proportion in that pay bracket apart from services or Arts and Humanities graduates. Although the 62% employment rate among all those with an honours bachelor degree is up from 48% when 2011 graduates were surveyed, it has not improved since last year. In addition, the proportion of recent graduates seeking employment went up from 4% to 5%, after several years of falling job-seeking rates.

However, the numbers securing work in Ireland has improved again and at 54% is now 15% above the level five years earlier. The other 8% of 2016 graduates in employment early last year were overseas, continuing the fall from a 12% level among those who received their degrees in 2013. Despite long-term improvements in third-level graduates’ prospects, the HEA pointed to disparities in the regional spread of employment.

Of all honours degree graduates who were working, 42% had jobs in Dublin and another 17% in Cork or Kerry. Just 2% were working in the Midlands, 3% in the Border area, and 4% in the southeast. Despite the lack of data other than DIT’s for institute of technology graduates, who will be included in the corresponding report next year, Mr Love said there is concern that more university graduates are not employed in the regions.

“There is a challenge for us to create more graduate employment opportunities outside Dublin and Cork to ensure better regional development,” he said.

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