65% of Irish graduates feel optimistic about career prospects in Ireland

Graduates in Ireland feel more positive than ever before about their future careers due to increased job opportunities and rising starting salaries, according to new findings.

An extensive survey of 15,000 students has found that 65 percent of those quizzed feel optimistic about their career prospects here in Ireland, up from 50 percent last year.

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The new research, published on Monday by Gradireland, indicates that third-level students across Ireland are better placed than ever to take advantage of the improving economic climate and low unemployment.

Further analysis of the research reveals that the average starting salary for new graduates is $34,000, marking the fifth consecutive year that the average wage has increased.

Tech giant Google was found to be the employer most graduates wish to work for, replacing last year's chart-topper, leading accountancy firm, Deloitte.

PwC is this year's second most sought-after employer, while the public sector remains an attractive destination for graduates, with teaching in third place and both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission in the top 10.

The bio-pharmaceutical sector is also well represented, with multi-nationals Pfizer, Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson and Abbott all in the Top 20.

Commenting on the findings, Ruairi Kavanagh, spokesman for Gradireland, said the latest research shows that third-level students can look forward to improved career prospects once they graduate.

"Of the students we surveyed, 76 percent believe that their degree prepares them well for a career within their chosen sector,” he said.

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“Especially optimistic were students from particularly buoyant sectors of the labor market, such as engineering, technology, banking, accountancy and consulting.

"Another indicator of an optimistic outlook is that students are no longer thinking they should accept the first job offer made to them. Forty-three percent said that they would be prepared to accept offers from multiple employers, and then renege on the less attractive offers further down the line."

In a further sign of the times, the research suggests fewer graduates are thinking about emigrating.  As many as four out five students identified viable career options in Ireland, with just 20 percent considering working abroad.

And Ireland's graduates are an entrepreneurial bunch, according to the research, with more than one in five third-level students considering setting up their own business during or straight after their studies.

Kavanagh added, "In good news for both graduates and business, our research also revealed that 78 percent of employers were recruiting more graduates this year due to an increase in business, up from 48 percent last year."

Are you a recent Irish graduate? How do you feel about Ireland's job prospects?