Concern at writing ability of graduates


Employers are concerned about the writing ability of many graduates and question whether some have the “right attitude” according to a major new report.

The report also suggests that while technology, business and law graduates will secure employment – prospects are less bright for arts and humanities graduates.

The views of over 400 companies – with over 140,000 employees – were canvassed for the report, making it one of the most comprehensive surveys of employer opinion on the education system.

The survey showed that employers have significant concerns about the writing skills of Irish graduates, with 22 per cent of respondents saying that Irish graduates are not up to scratch.

Overall, companies were satisfied with the skill level of Irish graduates, with over 75 per cent reporting that graduates have the right skills and relevant subject of discipline knowledge.

Employers are particularly happy with the calibre of science, technology, engineering, and maths graduates, with 92 per cent satisfaction.

Entrepreneurial skills

However, 22 per cent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the entrepreneurial skills of Irish graduates, while just over one in five felt that their employees lacked business acumen and awareness.

Business and law graduates appear in pole position to secure a job, with 46 per cent of companies employing them.

Around a third of companies employ graduates from engineering disciplines, while science, maths, and computing graduates are employed by around one in five companies.

Humanities and arts graduates, as well as social science graduates, both fare poorly, with just 12 per cent of companies employing each.

The survey also gathered information on minimum standards for graduate applications. Slightly less than 40 per cent of employers said they would not employ a graduate without relevant work experience, while 32 per cent expect their employees to have at least a 2.1 degree.


The survey found that companies are more likely to hire graduates with a postgraduate qualification, especially in humanities, arts, science and maths.

Students of business and law and engineering are least likely to require a postgraduate qualification. Just four graduates secured work in the construction industry, none of whom had a postgraduate qualification.

The survey – some details of which were first reported in The Irish Times last month – was driven by a group of employer and education groups that included employers’ group Ibec, the Higher Education Authority, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Irish Universities Association and the Institutes of Technology, Ireland.