Graduates from the agriculture sector are the highest paid – Survey

Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Honours Bachelor Degree graduates are the highest earners, a First Destination Survey by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has found.

The survey relates to those who graduated from their relevant fields of study in 2015.

Some 29% and 27% of such graduates are earning €33,000 or over respectively.

The survey also found that 86% of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary, Honours Bachelor Degree graduates reported high levels of relevance of their education to their area of employment.

Graduates from the sector also have the highest employment rate overseas, with 25% of respondents in employment outside of Ireland. The next highest sector that has graduates employed abroad was the Health and Welfare sector with 15%.

The HEA notes that the number of respondents to the survey from the agri-sector was ‘relatively low’.

When it comes to the first destination of Masters and Doctorate graduates by field of study, some 23% of agriculture graduates are ‘seeking employment‘ – the highest percentage of graduates by sector.

Based on gender, the report found that in the €25,000 to €28,999 pay bracket, 31% of graduates were male and 28% were female.

Overall, of the 18,500 respondents to the survey, 68% of those are in employment, with 57% of those employed in Ireland.

According to the HEA, employment rates are up in Ireland, indicating more preferable labour market conditions for graduates and limiting the need to emigrate in order to find suitable employment.

However, in most cases it is not a shift from seeking employment to employment that has seen employment rates rise but rather a shift from further studies or training into employment.

As expected, higher qualifications are associated with better labour market outcomes, including earning potential, it found.

Interestingly, graduates awarded a pass degree demonstrate the highest levels of employment at 74%, whereas those who received a first class (1H) degree had the lowest levels of employment at 57%.

Meanwhile, the reverse is true for rates of progression into further study. While this is an unusual finding, the HEA has said that it may be due to the quality of award that is required for entry into postgraduate study, with those who obtain a 1H more likely to go on to further study.