Third-Level Graduates Really Do Earn More

12 Feb 2018 | 01.33 pm

Third-Level Graduates Really Do Earn More

Weekly median is €655 per week and 76% find work within a year

12 Feb 2018 | 01.33 pm

Third-level graduates are doing better, according to new data from the Central Statistics Office, with 76% finding work within a year of graduating in 2014 and median weekly earnings hitting €655 per week by 2015.

The new publication, ‘Higher Education Outcomes: Graduates 2010-2014’, analyses the outcomes of graduates in terms of employment, re-enrolment in education, the industry sectors in which they work and their earnings over time and is the result of a collaborative project between the CSO and the Higher Education Authority.

Statistician Brendan O’Dowd said: “Among 2010 graduates, 66% were in substantial employment in the first year after graduation, and this had increased to 76% for 2014 graduates.

“The largest sector for employment for 2010 graduates in the first year after graduation was Wholesale & Retail Trade, which employed a fifth of all graduates, but this dropped to 10% after five years. Median weekly earnings for 2010 graduates rose from €420 in the first year after graduation to €640 by the fifth year.”

The findings also show that female graduates from 2010 were more likely to be in substantial employment in the first year after graduation than males, with 71% of females and 60% of males in substantial employment one year after graduation. In the first year after graduation, median weekly earnings were equal for men and women at €420 per week. However, after five years, median weekly earnings for men, at €655 per week, were €20 above the figure of €635 per week for women.

Pay varied by occupation, of course, with the highest median weekly earnings five years after graduation being in ICT at €775, followed by education on €740 and health and welfare on €705. Both of the latter paid way less to 2014 graduates, though, at €560 and €565 the respective median levels.

The data shows that the 2010 cohort earned just €45 a week more than non-graduates in their first year, but four years later the same cohort’s median wage level was €225 per week above the figure for non-graduates.

Almost a quarter of female graduates from 2010 were working in education five years later compared to 12.1% of males, while 17.5% were employed in health and social work compared to just 4.2% of males. Male graduates were more likely to work in professional, scientific and technical activities, finance and real estate, industry, and information and communication.

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