GRADUATES of the University of Limerick face “a more positive economic environment and a buoyant jobs market,” university president Dr Des Fitzgerald told nearly 3,000 graduates this week.
A new survey has revealed that 74% of last year’s UL graduates are now in employment - 12% higher than the average employment rate for all Irish universities graduates in 2015, which stands at 62%.
Some 2,687 students graduated from UL this week in a range of disciplines, including 47 PhDs.
“You are entering a more positive economic environment and a buoyant jobs market. Even through the bleak years of recession, UL maintained its fantastic record of graduates in employment and UL graduates remain some of the most employable graduates in Ireland,” Dr Fitzgerald told the class of 2017.
Of the 74% of graduates who went directly into employment, 63% are employed in Ireland and 11% overseas.
This is a two per cent increase in employment levels overall on the previous year.
The results record a decrease of one per cent in the number of graduates seeking employment, which is now five per cent.
This is lower than the official labour market unemployment figure that is currently in excess of 6.3%.
The survey shows that one-fifth of the class of 2016 went on to do some form of postgraduate study or research.
UL’s doctorate students are also very much in demand, with 89% of last year’s PhD graduates currently in employment - 70% in Ireland and 19% overseas.
Also, 84% of those who completed a Research Masters and 80% of last year’s Taught Masters graduates are currently in employment.
President Fitzgerald outlined UL’s achievements over the past year, including achieving University of Sanctuary status, the launch of the Titan Themis microscope, the opening of the Munster Rugby High Performance Centre and the new 25m pool.
“As you know, graduates from this great institution have made and continue to make an enormous contribution to this region, the country and the wider world. You now stand in that line of tradition, about to make your own mark, in your own way,” he said.
There were 2033 primary degree graduates in 2016, with the business, finance and insurance sectors between them accounting for 21% of graduates.
The public sector has also featured as a significant sector, although education dropped to 19% and health remained at 17%.
The continued regional increase in employment is in the West (West, Mid and South) with 62% of UL graduates working within the region, followed by the East with 26%.
The most popular overseas location was the UK at 40%, followed by the North America at 29%.
The overall employment rate for education graduates is 87%, which is strong, and 20% of these are teaching overseas.