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In many cases, students no longer think they need to accept their very first job offer

Students are growing in confidence about their immediate job prospects, writes Ruairi Kavanagh, editor of Gradireland.

Ruairi Kavanagh

TODAY SEES THE publication of the latest edition of Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers – a result of the largest student careers survey Gradireland have conducted.

Central to the survey was asking students and graduates who they want to work for and what their views are on their future careers.

Of the 15,000 students surveyed, 65% responded that they are optimistic about their future career prospects, up from just over 50% last year.

76% say that they believe that their degree prepares them well for a career within their chosen sector. Especially optimistic were students from particularly buoyant sectors of the labour market such as engineering, technology, banking, accountancy and consulting.

Another indicator of an optimistic outlook is that students are no longer thinking they should accept the first job offer made to them. 43% say that they would be prepared to accept offers from multiple employers and then renege on the less attractive offers further down the line.

Should I stay or should I go?

80% of students believe that they have viable career options in Ireland, but 20% intend to seek their first graduate opportunities abroad. In a further example of graduate career mobility, our research reveals that only 57% of students plan to stay in their first job longer than three years.

Entrepreneurial spirit remains strong amongst the student and graduate population, with over a fifth (21%) of students saying that they were considering setting up their own business during or straight after completing their studies.

Recruitment challenges 

Gradireland research also revealed that just 51% of employers believe they are well equipped to meet their graduate recruitment requirements this year without significant challenges.

The competitive nature of the graduate recruitment marketplace is a likely factor in a continuing rise in graduate salaries, with the average starting salary now €29,060, marking the fifth consecutive year that the average graduate starting salary has increased.

In good news for both graduates and business, our research also revealed that 78% of employers were recruiting more graduates this year due to an increase in business, up from 48% last year.

Who do graduates want to work for?

In this year’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers list, Google have replaced Deloitte as the employer who most graduates want to work for.

PwC occupies second position and is one of four professional services firms within the top 12.

The public sector remains an attractive destination for graduates, with Teaching in third place and both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission in the top ten.

The importance of the biopharmaceutical sector is evident with Pfizer, Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson and Abbott all within the top 20. Aer Lingus is in 10th position.

Gradireland’s Graduate Careers Fair takes place on Wednesday 3 October at RDS Simmonscourt and is free to attend. For free entry, register here

About the author:

Ruairi Kavanagh

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