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The occupational domain and initial earnings of recent Irish graduates: Is a science and technology degree good for you?


  • Dimitrios Pontikakis


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the hypothesis that those with a university qualification in science and technology (S&T) enjoy favourable labour market outcomes. Design/methodology/approach - Analysis is based on individual-level data detailing the labour market experiences of Irish university graduates upon entering employment. A Gini-Hirschman index is used to estimate the number of occupational options open to graduates of a particular educational background. Additionally, an ordered probit model of earnings is estimated, which is controlling other factors, measures the effect of S&T education on the distribution of earnings. Findings - S&T graduates have a wider occupational domain. Additionally, tabulations indicate that on the whole they tend to earn more. Application of an ordered probit model controlling for other factors suggests that engineering graduates enjoy a clear earnings advantage; however the opposite appears to be the case for science graduates. Originality/value - The paper presents original insights into the occupational outcomes of Irish technical graduates. The relatively lower earnings of science graduates bring into question the current preoccupation with the supply side and suggest that a closer look at the demand for such skills may be warranted. These findings may be interesting for policy seeking to influence skill structure and for further studies investigating the returns to components of skill.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitrios Pontikakis, 2009. "The occupational domain and initial earnings of recent Irish graduates: Is a science and technology degree good for you?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(6), pages 591-613, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:6:p:591-613

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