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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

For Immediate Publication

USI President John Logue responded today to critical statements made by PayPal’s Louise Phelan about the quality of graduates coming from Ireland’s third-level institutions.

John Logue, President of the Union of Students in Ireland said:

“The statements made by Louise Phelan on the quality of Irish graduates seem to be based almost entirely on anecdotal evidence and hearsay, with no reference whatsoever to research carried out in this area. The overwhelming evidence suggests that Irish graduates are not lazy, they have realistic expectations as regards what to expect in an entry level position and they are more than willing to learn new skills to meet the demands of their employers.

An employer’s survey carried out by the HEA reported that 70% of employers are confident that Irish graduates have the right attitude when applying for entry-level positions. Moreover, 75% of employers state that graduates arrive with a high level of transferable skills.

In a survey carried out by in 2012 on graduate recruitment trends, it was reported that 70.4% of employers thought that graduates had realistic expectations as regards starting salaries. The survey stated that this indicated “that the majority of graduates have lowered their expectations in this area to suit straitened times.” The survey also reported that the median starting salary for a graduate in 2012 was €24,000-€25,999. This is down from its peak in 2008, when it was in the €26,000– €27,999 range.

The responsibility for ensuring that graduates have the requisite skills for the workplace lies not only with individual, but with the employer and our education system. Employee feedback received by Glassdoor on employee satisfaction shows that Facebook has a satisfaction rating of 94%, Google receives 90% and McKinsey & Company receives a 91% rating from their employees. In contrast, PayPal has an employee satisfaction rating of 61%.

Perhaps Louise Phelan should concentrate on ensuring that PayPal offers adequate training and support for graduate employees instead of offering speculation based on anecdotal evidence. If we want to debate the quality of our graduates then we should be equipped with the facts to do so and the ability to take responsibility for our own obligations in this regard.”

Editor’s Note:

Louise Phelan first made these statements in an article that appeared in the Irish Independent on Tuesday, March 12.


For more information contact USI Media and Communications Executive, Ronan Costello, on 085-1164263 or email

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