Majority of students plan to emigrate, survey finds


BETTER JOB opportunities abroad tops the list of reasons why two-thirds of college students plan to emigrate after completing their education in Ireland, according to survey figures released yesterday by Student Marketing Network.

Conducted via the website, the results from the online questionnaire, taken by more than 1,200 students nationwide, found that 91 per cent are worried about their future in Ireland, with the vast majority seeing emigration as their most likely career path.

While 37 per cent of those who intend to emigrate said they would do so directly after finishing their degree, 39 per cent said they would not leave until they had exhausted the possibility of finding a job in Ireland first.

The remaining 24 per cent plan to emigrate in the “next few years”.

Australia was the most popular destination, with some 28 per cent of would-be emigrants choosing it as their destination while 20 per cent opted for the United States.

Other destinations that featured included Canada, the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

More than half (52 per cent) of those who saw themselves emigrating following their education said that they planned on staying abroad for the “foreseeable future”.

The Government comes in for criticism, with 92 per cent of respondents saying the Coalition is not doing enough to prevent young people from emigrating. Some 82 per cent said free fees were a myth, and 86 per cent disagreed with the idea that full fees should be reintroduced.

Students taking the survey suggested that the Government should increase the number of graduate and internship schemes on offer to college graduates as well as offering incentives to companies that provide graduate schemes.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent said that they worked to support themselves in college and 59 per cent revealed a part-time job had compromised their studies or grades.

Colman Byrne, managing director of Student Marketing Network and, who served two terms as president of the Union of Students Ireland, said: “The Government must act to reverse the announced cuts in education.

“Our best and brightest are planning to leave our shores and the survey results show that the Government’s actions are exacerbating an already terrible situation. How are we supposed to build an economic recovery without our graduates?”