Graduate Outcomes Survey


The new annual graduate outcomes survey is in place for the survey of graduates of 2017, taking place in Q2 2018.  The survey is collected in respect of graduates of higher education institutions (HEIs) approximately nine months after their completion of study. The data submitted in the record is obtained through a survey instrument, centrally defined by the HEA and locally managed by HEIs.

The Higher Education Authority’s First Destinations Survey was first carried out by the institutions in 1982 and the results of this survey continue to benefit policy makers, students, guidance counsellors, teachers and all with an interest in education. Graduate destinations data reflects higher education’s contribution to the economy through the provision of graduate labour from undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and gathering and communicating graduate destinations data is particularly relevant in the current economic climate in Ireland. More generally, the HEA strives to produce high-quality, consistent, relevant and timely statistical information on higher education to underpin the development of policy and services to meet the needs of the learner, education providers and other users. A strong evidence-base allows for the enhancement of accountability and transparency in the education sector, and for better informed decision-making.


Since 2015, the HEA and higher education institutions have worked together on the development of a new graduate outcomes survey for higher education.  The new survey includes the participation of all higher education institutions, and situates the survey data within a relational database that allows for greater data accuracy and linking of survey data across its systems.

The new survey and database provide the following:

  • Data on graduate qualifications and employment both within Ireland and overseas
  • Relevance of employment to area of study
  • Data on graduate further study
  • Data on graduate unemployment and unavailability for work
  • Consistent data across institutions
  • Graduate perceptions of the quality and relevance of their higher education experience


This information will be of use to higher education institutions, government departments and state agencies, researchers, career guidance counsellors and teachers.


The annual graduate outcomes survey has one census date, 31 March of each year. The date chosen aims to provide a picture of graduate activity approximately nine months after completion of the graduate’s programme of study. The survey is undertaken by graduates answering a number of questions by way of a questionnaire.


This page provides guidance to HEIs on how the survey should be carried out.