As the University of Limerick commences four days of conferring ceremonies which will see 2419 students graduate, including 56 PhD graduates, UL President, Professor Don Barry highlighted the continued growth in demand for UL graduates by employers; “Traditionally UL's Graduate Employment figures trend well above the national average. Despite the challenging environment, UL's graduate employment rate has continued to rise and our 2011 figure for primary degree-holders is now 16% higher than the HEA’s most recently-available national average figure which is 46% for 2010.”
A survey of UL’s 2011 graduates showed 88% are either employed or pursuing further study. President Barry explained the demand for UL graduates; “Our doctorate students are also very much in demand, with 86% of last year’s PhD graduates currently in employment. “Year on year our graduate employment figures are increasing as a reflection of our continually-evolving programmes that offer our talented students the kind of educational and research experiences that will best prepare them for their careers. Additionally, the growing number of employers actively recruiting UL graduates through our Careers Fair is testament to the high esteem in which our graduates are held. UL graduates have shown themselves to be ready for the workplace, highly-skilled and more employable than their peers from other Irish universities.”
Professor Barry concluded by saying; “It is encouraging to see that over the next week no less that 56 doctorates will be conferred on UL graduates in recognition of their advanced research. It is essential that we continue to exceed international benchmarks in the delivery of high quality, relevant research that will support Irish innovators and continue to attract foreign direct investment. More innovation and discovery and an improved response to commercial and industrial needs will mean more employment opportunities for our graduates and increased growth in Ireland’s Knowledge Economy.”
The ‘First Destinations’ survey compiled by UL’s Careers Division also found that there was a decrease of 1.5% in the number of UL graduates seeking employment which is now at 8.5%, a figure which is considerably lower than the official labour market unemployment figure which is currently in excess of 14.8%. In recent years the Mid-West was the most popular region of employment, but this year’s results show a trend reversal for the first time since 2005. Dublin accounts for 32% of jobs, followed by the Mid-West at 28%. The most popular overseas location was the UK at 34%, followed by the Middle East at 16%.
The percentage of UL graduates finding employment in Ireland increased in the past year, from 45% to 50%, while overseas figures remains constant at 13%.There was a decrease in the number of graduates opting for further study or research, from 27% to 25%. More than 79%of those who completed a Postgraduate Diploma in 2011 found employment in Ireland with only 10% working abroad. The highest employment rate was recorded by PhD graduates with 86% employed.