The ‘Graduate Outcomes Class of 2017 ‘ survey – which included a response rate of 45% of all international graduates at honours degree level and above during that period – asked respondents what they were doing nine months after the completion of their studies.
“It is critical to recognise the value added in employing international students”
Overall, the majority (75%) of international graduates who responded were working or about to start employment, 11% were engaged in further study, while 7% were unemployed. A further 7% said were engaged in another type of activity.
In terms of location, a total of 62% of international graduates in employment were employed in Ireland, with 38% overseas.
“The need for an educated and highly skilled workforce is essential if Ireland is to compete in international markets… and grow resilience in the face of current and future global challenges,” the authors of the survey explained.
The survey showed that two-thirds (66%) of employed international graduates were in “professional occupations”, followed by associate professional and technical occupations (13%).
It also revealed that employment rates for international graduates increased with level of study: a total of 69% of honours degree, 76% of postgraduate taught and 94% of postgraduate research international graduates were in employment or due to start a job.
In terms of sector, the largest numbers of graduates were in financial, insurance and real estate (16%), information and communication (15%), education (15%), human health and social work (14%) and professional, scientific and technical (13%).
A total of 57% of international graduates taking part in some form of further study were doing so in Ireland, with the rest (43%) studying overseas.
When asked why they had engaged in further study, the largest group (24%) indicated that it was because further study was a requirement for progressing in future employment, while (21%) indicated that it was to develop a more specialist range of skills or knowledge.
The majority of international grads were working or about to start a job. Image: HEA
“With uncertainty around Brexit and its potential impact upon the Irish economy, it is critical to recognise the value added in employing international students,” the survey read.
In its 2017/18 figures, the HEA indicated that 41% of international students were from Asia, 29% from North America, 20% from the EU and 10% from the rest of the world.
A non-EU graduate from an undergraduate honours degree may remain and work in Ireland for one year after program completion and graduates of master’s and doctoral degrees may remain for two years.
“Recruiting international students benefits organisations in many ways”
“Given Ireland’s economic ambitions to be more competitive in international markets, a growing number of employers are taking advantage of an easing in restrictions around recruiting non-EU students,” the survey continued.
“Recruiting international students benefits enterprise and organisations in many ways.”
Speaking about the findings, chief executive of the HEA Paul O’Toole said that the survey shows there is clearly a demand in Ireland for high-quality graduates that are coming out from the country’s HEIs.
“It is also noteworthy that [the majority] of non-Irish graduates who go into employment, choose to remain in Ireland.”
“Skilled graduates are going to continue to be essential for our talent-driven economy and to help meet societal challenges,” he added.