Number of graduates going abroad to work is at lowest level


The number of third-level graduates seeking work abroad after college has reached the lowest level since modern records began, according to a new report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The HEA said 6.8 per cent of graduates in 1999 went overseas looking for work, the lowest figure since 1983. A decade ago almost 20 per cent were forced to go abroad, mainly to Europe or north America.

The HEA's report on graduate destinations shows that 46 per cent of them got a job after leaving college, down from 51 per cent the year before. This was explained by the increase in the number of graduates staying in college for further study which rose from 35 per cent to almost 42 per cent, said the HEA.

The chairman of the HEA, Dr Don Thornhill, said Government initiatives to support postgraduate research were "proving attractive to graduates" and helped to explain this rise.

The number of unemployed graduates (classified as "seeking employment") was at 1.5 per cent, also the lowest level since 1983. As recently as 1991 this figure stood at eight per cent.

Of those who found employment, over 60 per cent of graduates and about 66 per cent of postgraduates took up positions in the eastern region.

The survey also contains figures on those taking the higher diploma in education (H.Dip), the traditional route into teaching. It shows unemployment among teachers has dropped from 6.1 per cent to 3.4 per cent.

The numbers getting substitute, part-time or temporary work have risen from 51.4 per cent to 61.2 per cent. The number getting permanent posts has dropped slightly from 6.1 per cent to 5.1 per cent.

More than 10 per cent of H.Dip graduates did not go into teaching after graduating. While this figure is high for a graduate group, it had dropped from over 20 per cent the year before.

The number of graduates teaching abroad rose slightly from 6.4 per cent to seven per cent. At the end of the 1980s almost 20 per cent of teachers were forced to seek work overseas.

The figures are included in the HEA's First Destination of Award Recipients in Higher Education. Almost 26,000 graduates were surveyed between six and nine months after they graduated. The figures are preliminary and the full report will be issued early next year.