5. Postgraduate Research Graduates

Postgraduate Research Graduates: This includes graduates of Masters Research and Doctoral programmes.


  • Overview of Graduate Population

    • 1,969 Postgraduate Research graduates
    • 52.5% female; 47.5% male
    • Most common fields of study are Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics (23.5%), Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction (16%) and Health & Welfare (17.9%)
  • Transitioning into Postgraduate Research

    Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics sees a high proportion of graduates pursuing Postgraduate Research. In a field of study with 3,756 (or 10.4% of total) Undergraduate Honours Degree graduates, there are 463 Postgraduate Research graduates (23.5% of total at this level).

    In contrast, Business, Administration & Law sees a low proportion of graduates pursuing Postgraduate Research. As the largest field of study for Undergraduate Honours Degree graduates, with 8,917 (or 24% of total) graduates, there are only 122 Postgraduate Research graduates (6.2% of total at this level).

Main Graduate Destination

89.6% of graduates in employment 9 months after graduation

In 2021, 89.6% of Postgraduate Research graduates are employed nine months after graduation, down from 91.2% in 2020 and slightly up from 2018 when it was 88.5%. The proportion of graduates pursuing further study has increased, at 3.2% in 2021, up from 2.2% in 2020. Meanwhile, unemployment has decreased to 3.4% in 2021, down from 4.8% in 2020.

Employment prospects for Postgraduate Research graduates have remained stable.


Employment Outcomes

58.5% working in Professional Occupations

More than half of graduates are employed in Professional Occupations nine months after graduation (58.5%).

16.2% of graduates are employed as Postdoctoral researchers, up from 12.6% in 2020.

By sector, 36.0% are employed in the Education sector, up from 31.5% in 2020. Nearly 1 in 7 Postgraduate Research graduates (13.1%) are employed in Human Health & Social Work Activities, down from 18.5% in 2020.

  • Where are Postgraduate Research Graduates working?

    Of the employed graduates, 84.5% are working in Ireland, while 15.5% are working Overseas.


    Dublin (40.9%), Cork (17.6%) and Galway (8.5%) account for 67% of all Postgraduate Research graduate employment in Ireland.

8 in 10 earn more than €35,000 per annum

Of the Postgraduate Research graduates, 27.8% refused to disclose their salary. Of the graduates who did disclose their salary, 80.7% are earning more than €35,000 per annum up from 79.5% in 2020. This is in contrast to 59% for Postgraduate Taught graduates and 33.2% of Undergraduate Honours Degree graduates.


  • Do Postgraduate Research graduates complete Internships?

    Most Postgraduate Research graduates do not do internships as part of their course (82.1%). This is similar to Postgraduate Taught graduates, whereby 71.5% do not complete internships.

    Nonetheless, when Postgraduate Research graduates do complete internships, these tend to be long, with 81.3% of internships being more than 4 months long.

78.2% consider their course relevant to their job

One in 10 Postgraduate Research graduates consider their course either irrelevant or very Irrelevant to their job (10%). This is down from 17.6% in 2020.

On the need for qualification, 12.2% believe that their qualification is not required for the job. This is particularly high amongst Arts & Humanities graduates, at 20.3%.

Over 1 in 6 found employment from Recruitment sites

Common sources of employment for Postgraduate Research graduates include Recruitment Sites (17.6%), already working there (15.6%) and Personal Contacts (15%).

A further 11.5% found employment through another institution source. Amongst Postgraduate Taught graduates, this accounts for 4% of employment.

Further Study Outcomes

Nine months after graduation, only 3.2% of Postgraduate Research graduates are pursuing further study. The number of graduates in this cohort are too low to conduct a meaningful analysis.

Engaged in Other Activities or Unemployed

Only 3.8% of Postgraduate Research graduates are Engaged in Other Activities and 3.4% are Unemployed. The number of graduates in these cohorts is too low to conduct a meaningful analysis.

Graduate Reflections

This section relates to all Postgraduate Research graduates surveyed.

59.5% would study the same course again

In 2021, 59.5% of Postgraduate Research graduates are likely to study the same course again. In 2020, this was 70.9%.

Business, Administration & Law graduates are most likely to study the same course again, with 63.9% Very Likely or Likely to study the same course again.


Next Chapter: International 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.

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