The number of graduates seeking work has fallen by half in the past decade, new figures from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) shows.
The latest HEA findings on the First Destination of Award Recipients (2003) show that 6pc of those who graduated in 1993 were seeking employment six to nine months later. In 2003, this figure had dropped to 3pc. Over the same period, the number of graduates in employment in Ireland increased by 7pc to 46pc while the numbers working overseas dropped from 9pc to 5pc.
The survey also confirms that the numbers seeking employment currently stands at 3pc — the same level as in 2002 and 2001, and below the national unemployment average of 4.3pc for 2004. The number of graduates in employment remains at 51pc — the same level as in 2002.
HEA chief executive Tom Boland reacted positively to the survey findings. “The development of our people is critical to meeting the challenges Ireland faces,” he said. “In order to create an innovation society, we need well-informed people who are creative, questioning, inventive and who are capable of responding creatively and constructively to change. The education system, particularly the higher education sector, has an essential role in creating this quality of human resources and I am greatly encouraged by fact that the demand for our graduates continues to grow.”
The First Destination findings are based on a survey of all 46,158 award recipients in 2003 (up 9.3pc on 2002). A response rate 59pc was achieved.
By Brian Skelly