3. Undergraduate Honours Degree Graduates
Undergraduate Honours Degree Graduates: An Honours Bachelor Degree is the most common type of Undergraduate degree. This includes, for example, BA (Hons). These are generally 3-4 years in duration.
Overview of Graduate Population
- 34,124 Undergraduate Honours Degree graduates (54.8% female; 45.2% male)
- Median age of 22.8 years old at the time of graduation
- The most common fields of study are Business, Administration & Law (23.2%), Arts & Humanities (17.7%), and Health & Welfare (16.5%)
Main Graduate Destination
69.7% of graduates in employment nine months after graduation
More than two-thirds of graduates are employed nine months after graduation (69.7%), down from 74.7% in 2018.
The proportion of graduates pursuing further study has increased slightly to 20.9% in 2020, up from 18.6% in 2018.
Unemployment has increased to 7.2% in 2020, up from 3.9% in 2018. Unemployment increases are highest in Services (12.9% in 2020; 5.4% in 2018), Arts & Humanities (12.6% in 2020; 5.8% in 2018), and ICTs (12.6% in 2020; 7.5% in 2018).
Unemployment increased only slightly for Health & Welfare graduates (2.5% in 2020; 2.2% in 2018), and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary graduates (2.4% in 2020; 2.1% in 2018). Meanwhile, unemployment has dropped for Education graduates (1.4% in 2020; 2.1% in 2018).
This section relates only to graduates in employment nine months after graduation (69.7%).
What contracts are graduates on?
Nine months after graduation, 58.3% of Undergraduate Honours Degree graduates are on permanent or open-ended contracts. One in three are on fixed-term contracts (32.5%). Less than 1 in 10 graduates are in temporary or unpaid employment (9.2%).
52.4% employed in Professional Occupations
The most common occupation for graduates nine months after graduation is Professional Occupations (52.4%). Nonetheless, two-fifths (40.2%) of ICT graduates work in Associate Professional & Technical Occupations, and more than 1 in 5 (22.8%) Arts & Humanities graduates work in Sales & Customer Service Occupations.
Common sectors of employment include Human Health & Social Work Activities (17.1%), Financial, Insurance & Real Estate Activities (13.6%) and Industry (12.2%). This differs by gender. While 23.6% of female graduates work in Human Health & Social Work Activities, only 9.1% of male graduates work in this sector. Similarly, 16.3% of females work in the Education sector, compared to 5.8% of males.
2 in 5 graduates work in Dublin
Nine months after graduation, 94.0% of employed graduates are working in Ireland. Dublin is the most common county of employment (39.7%), followed by Cork (13.5%) and Galway (6.4%).
The sectors with the highest proportion of graduates working in Dublin are Public Administration & Defence (64.5%), Financial, Insurance & Real Estate Activities (62.1%), and Information & Communication (61.2%).
Graduates working in the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing sector are more likely to be working in Cork (12.7%) or Meath (10.4%), than Dublin (8.2%).
45.7% earning between €25,000 to €34,999
Almost one-third (29.5%) of graduates do not disclose their salaries. Amongst those who do disclose their salaries, 46.2% of females are earning between €25,000 to €34,999. This is slightly lower for males, at 44.7%.
One in four earn less than €25,000 per annum (25.6%), while 28.3% earn more than €35,000 per annum.
Of the graduates earning less than €14,999 per annum, more than half are graduates in part-time employment.
61.6% of graduates have completed internships
In 2020, 61.6% of graduates completed internships. This is up from 55.5% in 2018.
The proportion of graduates completing internships varies by field of study. This is particularly low in Arts & Humanities (25.4%) and Social Sciences, Journalism & Information (27.1%). Internships are most common in the fields of Education (94.6%), Health & Welfare (89.5%), and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary (87.7%).
Just under half are more than 6 months long (48.9%). Again, this differs by field of study, with Health & Welfare having the highest proportion of internships longer than 6 months long (61.8%). This is followed by Business, Administration & Law (54.2%) and Education (49.1%).
Arts & Humanities has both a low proportion of graduates completing internships, and moreover, a high proportion of short-term internships, lasting less than 6 weeks long (23.2%).
Did you know?
In the StudentSurvey.ie National Report 2021, students were asked:
“During the current academic year, about how often have you blended academic learning with workplace experience?”
One-third (36.2%) of Undergraduate Final Year students said “Never”, while 28.6% said “Sometimes”. Just over one-third of students (35.3%) said “Often” or “Very Often”.
55.7% consider the course relevant to their job
More than half of graduates consider their course Very Relevant or Relevant to their job (55.7%). Relevance is highest amongst Education (79.9%) and Health & Welfare graduates (75.8%). In stark contrast, within Arts & Humanities, nearly 1 in 3 (31.9%) state that their course is Very Irrelevant to their job. This proportion is similarly high amongst Services graduates (27.4%).
On the need for qualification, 1 in 3 Arts & Humanities graduates state that the qualification is not required for their job (34.6%). A further 13.4% say that they are already in the job. Amongst Education graduates, 87.2% state that their qualification is a formal requirement for their job.
Did you know?
In the StudentSurvey.ie 2021 National Report 2021, students were asked:
“During the current academic year, about how often have you talked about career plans with academic staff?”
53.8% of Undergraduate Final Year students said “Never”, 31.8% said “Sometimes”, and only 14.4% said “Often” or “Very Often”.
“During the current academic year, about how often have you improved knowledge and skills that will contribute to your employability?”
59.0% of Undergraduate Final Year students said “Often” or “Very Often”. One-third (33.1%) said “Sometimes” and 7.9% said “Never”.
19.6% found employment through Personal Contacts
The most common sources of employment include Personal Contacts (19.6%), Recruitment Sites (19.2%), and already working there (19.0%). One in ten found jobs through Social Media / Professional Networking Sites (11.3%). The least common sources of employment are Speculative Applications (1.4%) and Media (2.5%).
Services (29.5%), Arts & Humanities (28.0%) and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary (27.8%) graduates have a strong reliance on Personal Contacts for sourcing employment. Amongst Education graduates, Recruitment Sites are a more important source of employment (32.0%) than Personal Contacts (17.0%).
Further Study Outcomes
This section relates only to graduates pursuing further study (20.9%).
70.5% pursue Taught Masters programmes
Of Undergraduate Honours Degree graduates who are pursuing further study, 70.5% pursue a Taught Masters. One in five (19.6%) Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics graduates choose to pursue Doctorate programmes.
Most graduates tend to pursue further study in the same field of study. In Business, Administration & Law, 77.7% of graduates pursue further study in the same field of study. Similarly, 77.3% of Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction graduates pursue further study in the same field of study.
In Arts & Humanities, graduates are more likely to pursue further study in Education (29.6%) than in Arts & Humanities (28.8%).
Business, Administration & Law is a common option amongst graduates of other fields of study – 26.6% of Social Sciences, Journalism & Information graduates, 20.7% of Services graduates, and 19.5% of ICT graduates pursue further study in Business, Administration & Law.
1 in 4 pursue further study to change / improve career options
The most common reasons for pursuing further study are to change or improve career options (23.8%), because it is a requirement for finding and progressing in future employment (19.6%), and to develop a broader or more specialist range of skills or knowledge (17.4%).
In 2020, only 6.3% of graduates cited enjoying their first course and wanting to continue study as the reason for further study. In 2018, this was 12.9%.
Engaged in Other Activities or Unemployed
This section relates only to graduates Engaged in Other Activities (2.2%) or Unemployed (7.2%).
Reasons for Unemployment
More than half of Unemployed graduates (53.9%) have been looking for a job since graduation. This is up from 34.9% in 2018 – a 19 percentage point increase. In 2020, less than 1 in 10 resigned from their job to seek employment elsewhere (8.7%). In 2018, this was 17.1%.
Of graduates engaged in other activities, only 9.5% took time out to travel. In 2018, this was 23.1%.
71.6% likely to study the same course again
Education graduates are most likely to study the same course again (82.5%), followed by Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary graduates (79.6%).
Services graduates are least likely to study the same course again, with 1 in 4 Very Unlikely or Unlikely to study the same course again (25.0%), followed by Arts & Humanities graduates (22.2%).
Did you know?
In the StudentSurvey.ie National Report 2021, students were asked:
“How would you evaluate your entire educational experience at this institution?”
One in four (25.8%) Undergraduate Final Year students said “Excellent”, and 49.9% said “Good”. One in five (19.5%) said “Fair”, and 4.8% evaluated their entire educational experience as “Poor”.
Looking for more information?
More detailed outcomes for the Class of 2020 graduates are available as interactive dashboards at the following links:
Next Chapter: Postgraduate Taught Graduates
Note: filtering can result in a low number of graduates that fit specific criteria. Any criteria that result in less than five graduates being represented are excluded from the graphs in this report. Nonetheless, the Total provided will be inclusive of any excluded fields.