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Starting salaries on the rise as graduate jobs market heats up

Survey from gradireland shows most employers questioned plan to hire college-leavers this year.

Mark Mitchell Director at gradireland

THE IRISH ECONOMY is buoyant, with Government figures and industry feedback pointing to an increasingly resilient resurgence despite potential storm clouds, such as Brexit, on the horizon. Current economic growth is fuelling business optimism, resulting in growing numbers of graduate jobs across the country – and increasing average graduate starting salaries.

More jobs – and more competition for good people

Forty-nine per cent of employers surveyed in the gradireland 2017 Graduate Salary & Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey said they were increasing the amount of jobs for graduates due to an increase in business. A growing number of major employers are increasing the intake of their graduate programmes in order to deal with both business growth and the challenge of bringing new talent into their organisations, many of whom lost a tier of middle and senior managers during the recession.

The average number of graduates being employed by organisations in Ireland on defined graduate programmes has increased by 18% during the last 12 months, and new graduate programmes are being set up in many businesses.

Forty-four per cent of graduate recruiters surveyed said that they expected to face difficulties when it came to hiring the graduates they want this year, illustrating the current competitive market for graduate talent.

Starting salaries

The competitive nature of the graduate jobs market has impacted positively on average graduate starting salaries. When taken as an average across all sectors, a 2017 graduate can expect to be paid a starting salary of €28,554. In terms of salary levels, almost half of the graduate employers surveyed (49%) pay between €24,000 and €30,000 as a graduate starting salary.

Over 35% of graduates will start on between €30,000 and €34,000 per annum, with the best salaries being paid in retail management and the legal sector. Some of Ireland’s most ambitious retail brands are known for their dynamic but demanding graduate programmes, which sees salaries in the retail and sales sector break through the €30,000 barrier to become the top paying sector in this year’s research at an average of €30,998.

High-paying sectors only 5.5% of graduate jobs

The law, legal services and patents sector, like last year, is paying in excess of €30,000 too, at €30,797. However, these two high-paying sectors represent only 5.5% of the available graduate jobs, indicating the level of competition which graduates can expect when applying for graduate roles in these sectors.

Jobs in the science, medical devices and pharmaceutical sector pay the same average starting salary as last year (€29,719), with lack of salary growth balanced by an increase in the number of jobs available. Other sectors paying graduate salaries in excess of €29,000 include management consulting, supply chain and logistics and some public sector roles. The upsurge in construction means that starting salaries in construction and property firms have also grown to over €29,000 per annum.

The lowest graduate starting salaries are traditionally found in the areas with the most jobs and this year is no different, with banking and financial services at €23,639 and accountancy and financial management at €24,554. It should be noted however that these sectors are renowned for their excellent training and professional development programmes, as well as lucrative long-term career paths.

Where the jobs are

Finally, gradireland also analysed the regional breakdown of graduate jobs. Unsurprisingly the majority of graduate roles are based in Leinster (38%) but this year’s survey also reveals more regional balance in graduate job growth. Twenty-nine % of graduate jobs are based in Munster, 19% in Connaught and 13% in Ulster.

Analysis from Mark Mitchell, Director of gradireland whose Graduate Salary & Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey 2017 has just been published.

About the author:

Mark Mitchell  / Director at gradireland

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