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Executive Summary

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This publication examines outcomes for graduates of Higher Education courses in Ireland. Areas covered include employment, re-enrolment in education, the industry sectors that graduates work in and the earnings that they receive over time. The graduations included here are those which were completed at institutions that are funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). Higher Education courses are designated levels of 6 to 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

This is a follow up to the report Higher Education Outcomes - Graduates of 2010 - 2014 and includes new graduates from 2015 and 2016 as well as new outcomes information from 2016 and 2017.

This report found that almost 80% of 2016 graduates were in substantial employment in the first year after graduation with median earnings of €475 per week. This compares with 65% of 2010 graduates with median earnings of €420 per week.

The most common industries for new graduates in 2016 were Wholesale & Retail, Health, Professional & Scientific and Education with over 50% of graduates in substantial employment in the first year after graduation working in these industries.

Around one in four (26.9%) of those graduating in 2016 had re-enrolled in higher education the following year, down from 1 in 3 (32.5%) for the 2010 graduation class.

This report was developed in collaboration with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and is an example of the policy-relevant research projects the CSO are developing as part of the CSO’s leadership role of the Irish Statistical System. Our goal is to maximise the variety and volume of data available to provide high quality information to the Government, businesses and citizens.

Under the auspices of the Statistics Act 1993[1] and in compliance with all relevant data protection legislation, the CSO is in a unique position to gather and link administrative data sources held by Government Departments and Agencies and evaluate their potential for statistical use.

This analysis as well as analysis on Further Education Outcomes was carried out using a statistical framework known as the 'Educational Longitudinal Database' (ELD) developed by the CSO. This framework is produced by integrating datasets from the Education sector with other public sector datasets which describe graduate outcomes in subsequent years. See Background Notes and Methodology for further information.

The National Data Infrastructure (NDI) plays an integral part in facilitating the CSO to develop new and improved statistical products for the benefit of the citizen and policymaker. The core concept of the NDI involves the collection, maintenance and storage, on all public sector data holdings, of the associated PPSN, Eircode and Unique Business Identifier (UBI, to be developed) whenever they are relevant to Public Sector Body transactions with customers. This supports the development of targeted policy interventions. What is needed to achieve this, in most cases, is collection of the PPSN and home Eircode in transactions with people and the UBI and business Eircode in transactions with businesses.

Go to next Chapter: What do graduates do?