Attending the University of Limerick conferrings on wednesday morning were Prof Don Barry, President, University of Limerick and Deirdre Hayes, Bruff, Co. Limerick who was conferred with a BSC Physiotherapy.
As the University of Limerick celebrates four days of conferring ceremonies which will see 2326 students graduate, UL President, Professor Don Barry has welcomed the very positive results of a recent UL graduate survey which indicate an increase in demand for UL graduates by employers.
"Demand for UL graduates is at its highest in a number of years with 74% entering direct employment within a few months of graduation. This is the highest employment rate since 1995 and records an increase of 5% from last year. The employment figure includes those working in Ireland and overseas, with 67% employed in Ireland and 7% overseas. Graduate emigration has been consistently low over the past decade, reflecting the range and quality of graduate employment opportunities in Ireland. This clearly demonstrates that Irish graduates prefer to work in Ireland, assuming they can find suitable work. Major graduate employers deliberately target UL graduates because of their combination of intellectual abilities, personal qualities and relevant work experience. As a result, the employment rate of UL graduates is significantly higher than the national average," said Professor Barry.
High employment is a feature across all disciplines with graduates from 30 UL degree courses registering zero unemployment. Graduates in Health Science disciplines, including Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech & Language Therapy, had the highest employment record, despite the negative publicity about cutbacks in this sector.
"Not all graduates go directly into employment as many are attracted by postgraduate study options. The survey shows that 18% of the class of 2007 went on to do some form of postgraduate study or research. The future development of the economy is dependant on the availability of people with postgraduate qualifications to provide research expertise and these graduates will be well prepared for this challenge," continued Professor Barry.
Salary levels were also recorded in this survey and the average starting salary is in the region of €28,000 with more than 20% of graduates earning salaries in excess of €33,000. As always, there is significant variation between salary levels across all disciplines and sectors of employment.
The most popular region of employment is the Mid-West which accounts for 35% of jobs, followed by the Dublin, at 33%. This reflects a considerable shift in graduate preferences in recent years as more graduates choose to remain in the Mid West. The most popular overseas location was the UK, followed by the Middle East. This data is based on the results of a recent survey, which records the current status of more than 2,500 graduates who completed full time courses in UL during the year 2007.
This week 2326 graduates will be awarded degrees from the University of Limerick in a range of disciplines including, Business, Education, Engineering, Humanities, Informatics, Electronics, Science and Interfaculty Programmes. Some 36 PhDs will also be awarded as part of UL's commitment to Fourth Level education in Ireland.