Northern Ireland graduates: Only a third return home

By Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

Image caption,
Almost 17,0000 students from Northern Ireland go to university elsewhere

Only a third of students from Northern Ireland who graduated in England, Scotland or Wales in 2017 returned home to work.

By contrast, almost nine in 10 of those graduating in NI got a job and stayed in Northern Ireland.

The 2016/17 figures have just been released by the Department for the Economy (DfE).

They include recent graduates in full or part-time work or combining work with further study.

Almost 17,000 students from Northern Ireland were enrolled in universities elsewhere in the UK in 2016/17, compared to 46,110 enrolled at universities here, including with the Open University.

Only 34% of those who had graduated from universities elsewhere in the UK in that year returned to Northern Ireland to work.

Most of the remaining 66% stayed in England, Scotland or Wales to work, although some secured jobs in the Republic of Ireland or elsewhere.

By contrast, only 11% of local students who found work after graduating from a Northern Irish university moved to another country to work.

Six months after leaving university, Northern Irish graduates had an average salary of £21,935 a year, although men earned on average about £1,000 more than women.

DfE's figures reveal what students from Northern Ireland - whether they studied in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK - are doing six months after their graduation.

Image source, Science Photo Library
Image caption,
Students who studied dentistry were some of the most likely to find work after graduation

Almost 80% of those are in some form of employment.

The rest were either in full-time further study, unemployed or engaged in other activities.

Those who studied medicine, dentistry or education were most likely to be in work.

Maths and physical science graduates were least likely to have found a job, but that was mainly because over a quarter of those who took those subjects had progressed to further study.