4. Postgraduate Taught Graduates

Postgraduate Taught Graduates: Graduates are considered to be “Postgraduate Taught Graduates” if they have graduated from either a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Taught Masters programmes.

Overview of Graduate Population

  • In 2018, there were 17,101 graduates (up from 14,707 in 2017)
  • 76% completed Masters Taught programmes
  • 57% of graduates were female
  • The largest cohort came from Business, Administration & Law



Main Graduate Destination

4.1 Most Important Activity – Field of Study

Most graduates (88.4%) were in employment nine months after graduation, while only 4.1% pursued further study.

Education graduates had the highest proportion of graduates in employment nine months after graduation (93.3%), followed by Services graduates (92.9%).

Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics graduates had the highest proportion of graduates pursuing further study, with 13.4% in further study.


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.


4.2 Employed Graduates – Occupation/Sector

Two-thirds (65.3%) of employed graduates were in Professional Occupations, while 12.9% were Managers, Directors and Senior Officials.

The most common sector of employment was Education, with 21.6% of graduates employed in this sector (down from 25% in 2017).

4.3 Employed Graduates – County of Employment

Of employed graduates, 89% were working in Ireland, while 11% were working overseas. This differed by institute type, with 93% of IOT, 90% of College and 88% of University graduates working in Ireland.

Of those employed in Ireland, 50% were working in Dublin (up from 47% in 2017). A further 13% were working in Cork and 6% in Galway.

4.4 Employed Graduates – Salary

Nine months after graduation, 93% of Postgraduate Taught graduates were employees, 4% were self-employed, freelance or starting their own business, and 3% were on work placements or internships.

Two-thirds (67%) were in permanent or open-ended contracts, 20% were in fixed-term contracts lasting 12 months, 6% were in fixed-term contracts lasting less than 12 months. A further 6% were in temporary employment.

Excluding those who refused to disclose their salary, 14.9% earned between €30,000 – €34,999. Two-fifths (40.5%) earned between €20,000 – €34,999.

4.5 Employed Graduates – Placement/Work Experience

More than two-thirds (71.5%) of graduates did not complete work placements or internships. However, this differed by institute type, with Colleges having the highest rate of participation in work placements.

Of those who participated in work placements or internships, 44% completed placements more than 6 months long. One-fifth (20%) lasted more than 6 weeks but less than 4 months.

4.6 Employed Graduates – Relevance and Need

Of the employed graduates, 66.8% of graduates considered their course Very Relevant or Relevant to their job.

On the need for qualification, 30.8% considered their qualification or subjects studied a formal requirement for their job (down from, 36% in 2017). One-fifth (22.2%) were already in the job when they received their qualification.

4.7 Employed Graduates – Source of Job

On the source of the job, one in four graduates had already worked in the job (this includes work placements or internships). One-fifth (18%) used recruitment sites, and 14% used personal contacts.

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.


4.8 Further Study Graduates – Field of Study

Overall, only 4% of graduates pursued further study. Of the graduates who pursued further study, 85% pursued further study in Ireland.

For Postgraduate Taught graduates who pursued further study, most pursued further study in the same field of study. Health & Welfare graduates had the highest proportion of graduates staying in the same field of study (85.1%), followed by ICT (77.6%).

4.9 Further Study Graduates – Award Obtained and Award Sought

For Masters Taught graduates, a Doctorate was the most popular option for further study (58%).

Unemployment & Other Activities

This section relates only to graduates who are “Unemployed” or “Engaged in Other Activities”, as defined below. Thus, all figures reflect only these cohorts of graduates.

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.

4.10 Unemployed/Engaged in Other Activities

Overall, only 4% of graduates were Unemployed nine months after graduation. Half (50.6%) had been looking for a job since graduation.

Only 3% of graduates were engaged in other activities nine months after graduation. Of these graduates, 12% were retired and 12% were engaged in home duties.

Graduate Reflections

This section relates to ALL Postgraduate Taught Graduates surveyed.

4.11 Graduate Reflections – Study Same Course Again

Most graduates considered it Very Likely or Likely they would study the same course again (67.7%).

Go to next chapter: Postgraduate Research Graduates

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