Press Release


A new survey finds 17% of respondent employers are looking for graduate applicants from any discipline

IRELAND, 27/10/2020: One hundred and ninety graduate employers surveyed by the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS) have provided a snapshot of the graduate recruitment environment in the COVID economy. 46% of respondents intend to maintain or even increase their graduate recruitment targets, a third of employers don’t know how their graduate recruitment numbers will change for 2020 yet which reflects the current uncertainty in the market at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, 23% plan to decrease (17%) or cancel (6%) graduate recruitment this year. Key findings:
  • Results for the jobs available in the graduate market in 2020 reveal the highest percentage of jobs available is in the East region at 43%, the Border region at 23%, and the South-West at 19%. This reflects the national trend of strong economic growth in the east of the country.
  • 46% of respondents indicate they will recruit approximately the same number of gradu­ates as last year, and possibly more, 17% will recruit less than 2019 and 6% are planning to cancel their graduate recruitment plans for 2020.
  • A third of em­ployers don’t know how their graduate recruitment numbers will change for 2020 yet which reflects the current uncertainty in the market at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The average salary for Undergraduates is €28,045, for Postgraduate Master’s degrees is €31,254 and for Postgradu­ate PhDs is €43,958.
  • Of the companies surveyed, 42% are looking for engineering graduates, 33% for business graduates, and 30% for informatics and electronics graduates.
  • 17% of companies surveyed will accept applications from any discipline.
  • A significant amount (46%) of those proceeding with their graduate offers will be starting their graduate hires remotely with 42% planning on continuing with their original start date.
“Based on the results of the Graduate Market Survey, it is clear most employers are still recruiting,” says Dr. David Foster, Director of Career Development & Skills at UCD. “For students the challenge is to have a first-class CV and covering letter ready for submission and examples of when they have demonstrated adapting to change and being resilient.  As employers adapt to a volatile economic situation, they are looking for talented students with critical thinking and creativity, employability skills and competencies to achieve personal success and enable businesses to thrive.” Caroline Kennedy, Career Development Manager at the National College of Ireland said that employers have adapted quickly to the new restrictions. ‘The survey taken in July supports what we are seeing in October. Most graduate programmes are still recruiting, employers have engaged enthusiastically with virtual careers fairs and online information sessions.  Whilst recruitment stalled in March and April, as employers have become more comfortable recruiting and onboarding virtually, we have seen graduate and work placement recruitment levels increase.’
AHECS advises that students should explore those industries that are thriving (healthcare, some forms of logistics, supermarket retail and hardware/networking )and identify how their skills can be transferred into other roles so they can build up their work experience and secure their desired job once the economy improves.
Angela Collins, Head of Careers at Waterford IT said: ‘I would encourage students to engage with their careers service all the IOTs and universities have excellent resources available to support the student. As a generation of  students and graduates who have had to adapt to new ways of learning and assessment during their  studies, they  have developed a wealth of technical and soft skills that will be valuable to the workforce of the future.’ “The member Career Services have adapted very quickly to the change in environment with the delivery of careers content and expertise online within the first week of the pandemic; this has continued throughout the summer and into the current semester. Each of the services have organised Virtual Careers Fairs, which has culminated into significant employer engagement with students during October/November” says Gavin Connell, Co-Chair AHECS/Head of Careers, at the University of Limerick “Our advice to our students, if you have decided on your preferred career options, you need to start planning and implementing a course of action to convert your choice into reality. Make a list of all the things you need to do and allocate each a timeframe.”
Participants in this survey are graduate employers who have engaged with AHECS in 2020. These include local, national and global companies, multinationals and SMEs, from all sectors and disciplines.  AHECS surveyed graduate employers between June and July 2020. This is the first year that AHECS has carried out the survey.  

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