Trinity alumni have the highest average earnings within the first few years of graduation, according to a new study by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Dublin City University (DCU) and University College Dublin (UCD) are the second and third highest-earning recent graduates, respectively.
The research, titled An Analysis of Graduate Earnings across Higher Education Institutions, is based on anonymised student records combined with earnings data from Revenue and other sources.
Trinity’s undergraduate’s predicted weekly earnings after four years average €744.
DCU graduates earn €725 weekly, on average. UCD alumni weekly earnings are €720 on average and University College Cork (UCC) are €703.
Graduates of teacher training colleges such as St Angela’s College in Sligo, St Patrick’s in Dublin and Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College also record relatively high earnings in the early years of their careers.
Graduates of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) have the lowest predicted weekly earnings, at €487.
Universities fared much better than regional institutes of technology such as IT Tralee, IT Sligo and Athlone IT.
Other factors that influenced earnings were leaving certificate points and the type of school that a graduate attended.
In a press statement, HEA CEO Alan Wall said: “This detailed dataset provides policy-makers and institutions with a comprehensive knowledge of labour market earnings patterns after graduation and describes the factors which influence students’ course choices and their subsequent early-stage earnings. This will help institutions and other stakeholders in providing students with appropriate career advice and relevant information on their course choices.”
A press statement from the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), said that graduates from its colleges performed well alongside other graduates when compared on a like-for-like basis, such as students who studied the same subject and received the same grade.
“It is clear that the technological higher education sector is the driver of access to education for the most socially and economically challenged cohorts of students throughout Ireland and they should be recognised and financially supported in this”, it said.
While the earnings gap is significant among graduates, it narrows considerably when data is adjusted to compare like-for-like graduates. Using this measure, the earnings gap between the highest and lowest earning graduates four years after graduation falls from €257 to €154.
On this basis, predicted earnings for students from Trinity, DCU and UCD fall substantially, but remain above average, while predicted earnings for graduates of IT Tralee and IT Sligo increase but remain below the overall average.
According to 2020 figures published by the HEA, some 36 per cent of Trinity students come from affluent areas, while only five per cent come from disadvantaged areas – the joint-lowest percentage, along with University College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
The new study did not include graduates from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as the sample size was not big enough.
In a statement to The University Times in December 2020, Tom Molloy, Trinity’s director of public affairs & communications, said: “College has pioneered the Trinity Access Programme and other schemes to counter disadvantage but it is clear that there are still problems when it comes to access and disadvantage.”
“To counter this”, he added, “we need to build on recent initiatives and do more to show everyone that Trinity is open to everybody”.