Background Statistics

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This chapter provides some background information on the numbers of graduates broken down by various analysis parameters. This information may be used as a reference when interpreting the findings of the previous chapters. Note that the data in this section includes those graduation records with missing or invalid PPSN. Since such records cannot be matched to outcomes, they are excluded from the previous chapters, but they are included in the present section to provide a more complete picture of trends in Ireland's higher education sector.

Note that the data throughout this report includes a single graduation per person per year, so that individuals are not double-counted in any of the outcomes analysis in any single year. As a result, the data for numbers of graduates presented here may vary from other sources which may include multiple awards per person within a single year.

Interactive tables on all Background Statistics are available on the CSO Statbank: Statbank Link

One important development over the period examined was the introduction of a two year master's degree programme for teacher training courses, replacing the one year higher diploma which was common prior to 2015. There was a reduction in graduation numbers for 2015 as a result, and fluctuations were created in some series which are related to these types of programmes. In colleges, where teacher training courses are commonly offered, we see a reduction in graduate numbers of approximately 30% between 2014 and 2015. The reduction in graduate numbers within the field of 'Education' can be seen more clearly in the following section.

 Table 5.1. Breakdown of Graduates by Analysis Parameters 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Total Number of Graduates 34,460 34,360 35,000 36,070 36,470 35,100 37,470 Sex Female 19,220 18,980 19,170 19,640 19,640 18,840 20,480 % 55.8% 55.2% 54.8% 54.4% 53.9% 53.7% 54.7% Male 15,240 15,370 15,830 16,430 16,830 16,250 16,980 % 44.2% 44.7% 45.2% 45.6% 46.1% 46.3% 45.3% Institute Type College 2,110 2,080 2,000 2,100 2,090 1,480 2,440 Institute of Technology 12,930 13,040 13,060 12,770 13,060 13,170 13,010 University 19,420 19,230 19,940 21,200 21,320 20,440 22,020 NFQ Level 6 1,200 1,160 1,180 1,160 1,170 1,160 1,300 7 4,140 4,180 4,050 3,920 3,970 3,840 3,610 8 21,620 22,040 23,120 23,600 23,680 22,850 24,490 9 7,000 6,430 6,040 6,750 7,020 6,760 7,470 10 500 540 610 650 640 490 590 Nationality Category Irish 30,840 30,510 31,330 31,560 31,610 30,280 32,090 % 89.5% 88.8% 89.5% 87.5% 86.7% 86.3% 85.6% Non-Irish 3,620 3,850 3,670 4,510 4,860 4,820 5,380 % 10.5% 11.2% 10.5% 12.5% 13.3% 13.7% 14.4% Degree Class (level 8 only) H1 2,910 2,940 3,070 3,390 3,440 3,580 4,020 H21 10,000 10,400 10,830 11,280 11,680 11,080 12,250 H22 7,090 7,000 7,370 7,180 6,900 6,350 6,610 H3 1,610 1,590 1,800 1,600 1,620 1,510 1,410

Numbers of graduates by field of study

Graduate numbers for each of the ten fields of study from 2010 to 2016 are shown in table 5.2. There is a drop of over 50% in the number of 'Education' graduates for 2015, primarily caused by the introduction of the two year master's degree for teacher training courses. This has also lead to some discontinuities in the profile of education graduates over time, such as an increase in the number of level 9 awards after 2015.

The most common field of study in each year was 'Business, Administration and Law', which accounted for 22.8% of all graduations in 2016. This was followed by 'Arts and Humanities', with approximately one in six graduates in 2016. Graduate numbers in 'Health and Welfare' rose by a third between 2010 and 2016, while 'Information and Communication Technologies' saw an increase of almost 40%. The number of graduations from 'Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction' fell by a quarter over the same period, from 4,640 in 2010 to 3,420 in 2016

 Table 5.2. Number of graduates by field of study Field of Study 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Education 2,400 2,310 2,190 2,410 2,570 1,120 2,530 Arts & Humanities 5,340 5,640 5,790 5,860 5,610 5,730 6,110 Social Sciences, Journalism & Information 2,400 2,360 2,570 2,720 2,760 2,590 2,330 Business, Administration & Law 9,060 8,710 8,990 8,840 8,810 8,690 8,560 Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics 2,900 2,920 3,130 3,550 3,790 3,690 3,980 Information & Communication Technologies 1,500 1,660 1,320 1,580 1,780 1,870 2,090 Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction 4,640 4,300 4,180 3,690 3,430 3,460 3,420 Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary 460 560 670 710 730 770 790 Health & Welfare 4,420 4,320 4,600 5,090 5,220 5,390 5,870 Services 1,340 1,580 1,580 1,620 1,780 1,790 1,790 All fields of study 34,460 34,360 35,000 36,070 36,470 35,100 37,470

Field of study of graduates by sex

 Table 5.3. Field of study of graduates by sex (2016 graduates) Female Male Field of Study No. % No. % Education 7,450 9.1 2,680 3.9 Arts & Humanities 15,300 18.7 9,160 13.5 Social Sciences, Journalism & Information 5,550 6.8 3,760 5.5 Business, Administration & Law 17,220 21.0 17,050 25.1 Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics 8,690 10.6 7,230 10.6 Information & Communication Technologies 1,740 2.1 6,660 9.8 Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction 2,820 3.4 10,850 16.0 Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary 1,110 1.4 2,040 3.0 Health & Welfare 18,320 22.4 5,170 7.6 Services 3,730 4.6 3,420 5.0 All fields of study 81,930 100 67,960 100

NFQ proportions by field of study

While level 8 qualifications were the largest grouping for each field of study, the prevalence of the other levels varied considerably. Over 40% of 'Education' graduations were at NFQ level 9, with the remainder almost entirely at level 8. Similarly in 'Social Sciences, Journalism and Information', the vast majority of graduations were at levels 8 and 9. There were 220 graduations at level 10 from 'Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics', and these accounted for 37% of all level ten graduations in 2016.

Certain other fields of study had relatively high numbers of graduates at lower NFQ levels. More than half of all graduates from the field of 'Services' received an award at level 6 or 7, and a third of graduations from 'Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary' were at level 7. These fields had relatively few graduates at levels 9 and 10.

 Table 5.4. Breakdown by NFQ for each field of study (2016 graduates) Field of study NFQ 6 NFQ 7 NFQ 8 NFQ 9 NFQ 10 Education 0 10 1,480 1,040 0 Arts & Humanities 20 210 5,050 790 50 Social Sciences, Journalism & Information 10 40 1,520 710 50 Business, Administration & Law 390 690 5,120 2,340 10 Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics 40 350 2,900 470 220 Information & Communication Technologies 40 330 1,220 480 20 Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction 100 670 1,810 750 90 Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary 30 260 460 30 20 Health & Welfare 460 350 4,160 760 140 Services 220 700 780 100 0 All fields of study 1,300 3,610 24,490 7,470 590

Field of study by geographical region

The proportions of 2016 graduates from each field of study are examined separately for each of the eight NUTS III statistical regions in Ireland in table 5.5. The region for each graduate is based on the county that they lived in prior to entering their higher education course.

Some fields of study were markedly less popular among Dublin graduates than among those from outside Dublin. For example, Dublin had the lowest proportion of graduates that studied Education, at only 4.1%, compared to 7.6% for graduates from outside Dublin. Dublin also had the lowest proportion of graduates from 'Information and Communication Technologies' at 4.3%, while the South-West region had the highest proportion at 6.8%. Just one in eight graduates from Dublin studied 'Health and Welfare', compared to around one in six (16.3%) for the remainder of the country. The Border region had the highest proportion of graduates from 'Health and Welfare' at 19.4%, making it the most popular field for that region.

Conversely, there were fields which were more popular among graduates from Dublin than other parts of the country. 'Social Sciences, Journalism and Information' accounted for 9.1% of Dublin graduates, but only 5.1% of graduates from outside Dublin. Around one in four Dublin graduates studied 'Business, Administration and Law' compared to one in five graduates from the remainder of the country. Dublin also had the highest proportion studying 'Arts and Humanities' at 19.5%, compared to 15.9% for all other graduates from Ireland.

The varying proportions for each region has interesting consequences for the ranking by popularity of fields within regions. Dublin is the only region where 'Education' was less popular than 'Information and Communication Technologies', and was also the only region where 'Social Sciences, Journalism and Information' was more popular than 'Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction'.

 Table 5.5. Field of study of graduates by geographical region (2016 graduates) Dublin Outside Dublin Mid-East South-West South-East Mid-West West Midland Border Field of study No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % Education 330 4.1 1,920 7.6 290 6.3 420 7.7 250 8.3 330 9.1 280 7.4 160 8.1 190 6.6 Arts & Humanities 1,570 19.5 4,030 15.9 810 17.6 790 14.5 490 16.2 630 17.3 580 15.4 320 16.2 420 14.6 Social Sciences, Journalism & Information 730 9.1 1,290 5.1 300 6.5 280 5.1 130 4.3 190 5.2 210 5.6 80 4.0 110 3.8 Business, Administration & Law 2,130 26.4 5,280 20.8 1,090 23.7 1,200 22.0 610 20.2 700 19.2 740 19.7 390 19.7 540 18.8 Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics 850 10.5 2,820 11.1 550 12.0 590 10.8 310 10.3 410 11.3 440 11.7 210 10.6 330 11.5 Information & Communication Technologies 350 4.3 1,440 5.7 250 5.4 370 6.8 170 5.6 180 4.9 200 5.3 120 6.1 150 5.2 Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction 710 8.8 2,300 9.1 430 9.3 410 7.5 260 8.6 390 10.7 360 9.6 170 8.6 270 9.4 Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary 70 0.9 700 2.8 100 2.2 110 2.0 110 3.6 90 2.5 110 2.9 80 4.0 100 3.5 Health & Welfare 1,020 12.7 4,140 16.3 560 12.2 1,000 18.3 500 16.6 550 15.1 640 17.0 330 16.7 560 19.4 Services 310 3.8 1,410 5.6 240 5.2 280 5.1 190 6.3 180 4.9 200 5.3 120 6.1 200 6.9 All fields of study 8,060 100 25,340 100 4,600 100 5,450 100 3,020 100 3,640 100 3,760 100 1,980 100 2,880 100 Dublin: Dublin Mid-East: Meath, Kildare, Wicklow South-West: Cork, Kerry South-East: Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford Mid-West: Limerick, Clare, Tipperary West: Galway, Mayo, Roscommon Midland: Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois Border: Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth