The National Employer Survey, completed in Q4 2014 by Insight Statistical Consulting, has shown that employers are very satisfied with graduate recruits across a range of personal and workplace attributes, including computer and technical literacy, working effectively with others and numeracy/processing numerical data.
Launching the results of the survey, Minister English said: “I am particularly pleased to note the high level of satisfaction that employers express across a range of graduate attributes, with satisfaction rates reaching over 90% in some areas.”
Overall satisfaction with higher education graduates workplace attributes was 72% and personal attributes 87%. For further education and training graduates, overall satisfaction with workplace attributes was 82% and personal attributes 90%.
The satisfaction rates for personal and work place attributes of graduates are particularly high for large and foreign owned businesses.
The National Employer Survey is a joint project undertaken by the Higher Education Authority, Quality and Qualifications Ireland and SOLAS which aims to ascertain employers’ views on the overall quality of recent further education and higher education graduates, any challenges in filling graduate vacancies, the factors considered in recruiting graduates and collaboration between business and educational institutions.
In terms of recruitment, Engineering was the most prominent single discipline among foreign companies (63%), manufacturing (59%) and large (63%) employer organisations, while graduates from Business and Law were also prominent among indigenous (43%), service (45%) and large (50%) employer organisations.
Commenting on the survey results, Minister English said “I am also pleased to see that three quarters of foreign employers feel that there will be an adequate supply of graduates in the next three to five years. This is a great vote of confidence in Ireland and our education and training providers.”
The survey results indicate that collaboration between education and industry is high at around 70% of all respondents. However, foreign owned businesses show a higher level of collaboration with education institutions at 79% compared to indigenous employers at 68%. The size of the organisation also appeared to influence this proportion in that larger organisations had a higher collaboration rate at 82% compared to 61% for small organisations. Work placements were the most popular form of collaboration between employers and education and training providers.
Lower rates of satisfaction were recorded for graduate attributes related to business acumen, entrepreneurship and foreign languages. The Government has already put in place measures to address these areas including the inclusion of work placements on over 90% of Springboard+ courses, an increased focus on employer engagement with the development of Regional Skills Fora underway and a Foreign Languages in Education Strategy being developed.
Responses to the survey came from 383 organisations that had recruited between them 9,344 recent graduates from the higher education and further education sectors, accounting for an estimated 12% of total graduate recruitment during the past two years.