Career choices and unsolicited advice


Sir, – As the Leaving Cert approaches and particularly as CAO season gets nearer, it would be nice if stakeholders of all kinds would refrain from offering youngsters unsolicited advice about their career choices. They have enough pressure on them as it is.

Too often, though, students are exhorted to study disciplines because these disciplines are said to offer high rates of employment with high earning potential. But as the recent and excellent HEA-CSO report on graduate outcomes shows (Higher Education Outcomes: Graduates of 2010-2014), post-graduation employment rates and earnings, as well as the rate at which earnings rise, are dependent on a host of factors, not just the particular discipline. What is absolutely clear from this report is that the grade with which a person graduates from higher education closely correlates with their subsequent income.

So the best advice any young person can be given is to choose to study what you love, or even just like, because, if you do, you are more likely to become an engaged, committed and high-achieving third-level student.

Happiness is unlikely to be found by following the advice of some industry spokesperson who views education solely as an exercise in training for the workplace. – Yours, etc,


Associate Professor,

Bioprocess Engineering,

School of Biotechnology,

Dublin City University,

Dublin 9.