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Education attainment and your employment prospects outlined in report

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs today published its annual report on the supply of skills to the Irish labour market. The report, 'Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply 2015, provides an overview of the skills profile of the population in terms of field of education and level. The report describes

  • The adult population by age, education level and field of learning
  • Employment outcomes by education level and field
  • Further and higher education and training awards
  • The extent to which graduates enter employment


Main findings

  • There are over one million third level qualification holders in the population (aged 20-64 years), a third of whom have studied social science, business and law (SSBL) including commerce, accountancy, marketing, business management
  • A further 320,000 persons have post-secondary qualifications, with engineering/construction, such as craft awards, accounting for a third
  • In 2013/2014, there were 93,000 awards made in selected further education and higher education institutes, with social science, business and law (SSBL) and health/welfare accounting for the highest shares.


Commenting on the report, Una Halligan, Chairperson of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, said “The impact of the recession on the construction industry can be seen in the fall in the number of FET level 6 awards in construction related areas in recent years; however, it is hoped that as the economy recovers and the number of new apprentice registrations continues to grow, the number of awards in this area will increase”.

Key findings by field of study

  • Science: qualification holders in this field have high employment rates, with many working in high skilled jobs (e.g. scientists, teaching, statisticians/actuaries)
  • Computing: output on computing courses at third level has been increasing in recent years; third level qualification holders, even young graduates, have high employment rates, and many work in high skilled occupations (e.g. IT programmers)
  • Engineering/construction: young graduates in this field (aged 25-29 years) at post-secondary level have employment rates almost as high as those with third level qualifications
  • SSBL: the occupation and sector that SSBL qualification holders work varies significantly depending on the level to which they have studied

 - post-secondary qualification holders are mostly employed in administrative roles (e.g. public sector clerical roles, PAs) whereas those who have  studied to third level are mostly employed in managerial, professional and associate professional roles (e.g. financial managers, accountants, investment analysts)

  • Health/welfare: high employment rates for third level qualification holders, with a high share employed in professional jobs (i.e. doctors, nurses); outcomes are less favourable for post-secondary qualification holders
  • Education: high employment rates for third level qualification holders, with one of the highest share of persons employed in areas related to their qualifications; a higher than average share of recent university graduates are employed overseas
  • Arts/humanities: there were a relatively high number of awards made in this field, with a high share of new graduates continuing on to further study; of those qualification holders in employment, many were in fields unrelated to their qualifications (e.g. teaching, administration)
  • Services: qualification holders (post-secondary and third level) in this field tend to be employed as chefs, hairdressers and Gardaí; they have a lower than average share in employment.


Together with its companion publication, the National Skills Bulletin 2015, this report serves as a valuable tool in the EGFSN’s role in advising Government on the current and future skills needs of the economy and anticipating any mismatches between skills supply and demand.

The full report, Monitoring Ireland’s Skills Supply: Trends in Education and Training Outputs 2015 is available here.