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Northern Ireland

We wanted to know whether graduates from universities in Northern Ireland were much different in terms of ambition or attainment compared to those from the rest of the UK. After looking at the registration data from graduates of Northern Irish universities between the years of 2009 and 2014, you can see that Northern Irish graduates are attractive candidates for graduate employers.


Graduates from universities in Northern Ireland overall reflect a national trend of preferred sectors. With the exception of Finance and Banking, the ambitions of graduates from Northern Irish universities are in line with those from the rest of the UK. This meant, Northern Irish graduates also wanted to work in Management, Marketing and Advertising and PR.

One surprise that came up was the amount of graduates that wanted to work in Public Sector and Services. Graduates from Northern Ireland who wanted work in this particular sector stood at 25.5%, while the national average for this sector stands just at 16.9%.

top 5 most popular sectors for NI graduates

Degree Classifications

For graduates from universities in Northern Ireland, earning a top class degree is much more difficult than it is in other parts of the country. Graduates from these universities who managed to earn a First Class degree classification stood at 7.6%, much below the national average of 7.8%.

On the other hand, graduates who are looking to receive a degree with a 2.1 classification, the likelihood was much higher, with the amount of graduates from Northern Irish universities receiving a 2.1 standing at 56.6%, over the national average of 48.1%. The same can be seen with only 2.4% of graduates from universities in Northern Ireland receiving just a pass and the national average standing at 3.8%.

Degree classifications for NI graduates

Work Experience

One of the most impressive thing about Northern Ireland's universities is the volume of work ready graduates that they produce. Northern Ireland has the highest rate of graduates with work experience compared with any other area of the UK, an impressive 24.9% of graduates from Northern Irish universities have work experience, far higher than the national average of 16.6%.

However, the graduates of Northern Ireland have some way to go yet as the graduates from universities in the outside the UK but in the EU have an even higher likelihood of work experience with 32% of graduates registering to graduate-jobs.com.

Work experience rates for NI graduates