2. Level 6 & 7 Graduates

Level 6 & 7 Graduates: This section examines the outcomes of graduates of programmes at NFQ Levels 6 and 7 from institutes of technology.

Overview of Graduate Population

  • In 2017, there were 9,602 Level 6 & 7 Graduates
  • More than half (57%) were male graduates
  • The majority (73%) continued to higher levels of study



Main Graduate Destination

2.1 Main Graduate Destination – Field of Study

The majority of Level 6 & 7 graduates pursued further studies (73%), while 23% were in employment.

Social Sciences, Journalism & Information and Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics both had the highest proportion of graduates in further study, at 80%. This was followed by Business, Administration & Law, at 79%.

Services had the highest proportion (30%) of graduates in employment nine months after graduation.


Employment Outcomes

This section relates only to graduates who are considered “In Employment”, as defined below. Thus, all figures reflect only the cohort of graduates defined as “In Employment”.

In Employment: Graduates are considered to be employed 9 months after graduation if they are working full-time, working part-time or due to start a job in the next 3 months.


2.2 Employed Graduates – Occupation & Sector

Of the graduates in employment, most were working in Professional Occupations (27%), followed by Associate Professional & Technical Occupations (14%).

The most popular sector of employment was Industry, with 18% of employed graduates working in Industry.

2.3 Employed Graduates – County of Employment

Of those in employment, 93% were working in Ireland, while 7% were working abroad.

Of those working in Ireland, the most popular counties of employment were Dublin (28%), Kildare (11%) and Galway (9%).

Of those working abroad, France was the most popular location (26%), followed by Great Britain (21%) and Italy (15%).

2.4 Employed Graduates – Salary

Nine months after graduation, 92% of graduates were employees, and 6% were self-employed, freelance or starting up their own business. The remaining were on work placements or internships.

The majority of graduates (76%) were on permanent or open-ended contracts, 10% were on fixed term contracts lasting 12 months or longer, 8% were on temporary or casual contracts, and 5% were on fixed term contracts lasting less than 12 months.

Excluding those who refused to disclose their salaries, more than half (52%) of graduates earned between €20,000 – €34,999.

2.5 Employed Graduates – Placement/Work Experience

Just under half of all graduates (47%) completed work placements or internships. This differed by gender, with 54% of females completing work placements, compared to 41% of males.

2.6 Employed Graduates – Relevance and Need

Of the graduates who took part in work placements, one-third (32%) were more than 6 months long. A further 28% were between 4-6 months long. One-fifth (22%) were more than 6 weeks long but less than 4 months, and 11% were less than 6 weeks long.

More than half (56%) of graduates considered their area of study Very Relevant or Relevant to their job. Similarly, 53% considered their level of study Very Relevant or Relevant to their job.

On the need for the qualification, 38% of graduates considered their qualification a formal requirement for their job. One-tenth thought that qualification was not a formal requirement, yet gave them an advantage in attaining their job.

2.7 Employed Graduates – Source of Job

On the source of the job, 27% had already worked in their job previously (this includes work placements or internships). One-fifth (22%) found their job through personal contacts, and 15% through recruitment sites.

Further Study Outcomes

In Further Study: Graduates are considered to be in further study 9 months after graduation if they are enrolled in either full-time or part-time further study or training.


The majority (73%) of graduates continued on to further study. Most (99%) were based in Ireland, and in their own institute (98%).

Unemployment & Other Activities


Unemployed: Unemployed graduates consist of graduates who are unemployed and looking for a job 9 months after graduation. 


Engaged in Other Activities: Other activities include caring for family members or others, travelling, volunteering, illness, retirement, unemployed yet not seeking employment, and other.


Overall, only 2% of graduates were unemployed, while 1% were engaged in other activities. Due to the low numbers, an in-depth analysis is not included.

Go to next chapter: Honours Degree Graduates

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