In our latest series analysing job opportunities, we have examined the top job opportunities available to graduates.

Job opportunities for graduates

According to the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre’s Skills Barometer model, around 10,000 new graduates enter the labour market each year, accounting for about two in every five new labour market entrants from education each year. 

Graduate opportunities are available all year around, not just at graduation times. In March 2023 alone, there were almost 500 graduate jobs advertised online in Northern Ireland. The number of such advertisements has been declining since a high in March 2022, however levels remain higher when compared with pre-COVID figures. In 2020, there was a monthly average of 288 graduate jobs, this increased in 2021 (563) and 2022 (734) before levelling off in 2023 thus far (426). 

Experience required for graduate roles

Where experience was listed on graduate job postings in the 12 month period to March 2023, only 27% of posts were aimed at new graduates i.e., no experience required. However, the majority (66%) of graduate online job advertisements have no experience listed on the posting.  Where experience was not listed, it might be because no experience is required as graduate posts would typically be aimed at new entrants to the labour market.

Sectors and occupations

The top sectors for graduate online job advertisements in the 12 months to March 2023 were:

  • Administrative and Support Services (31%)
  • Professional Services (14%)
  • Other Services (5%)
  • ICT (5%)
  • Manufacturing (4%)

The top occupations for graduate online job advertisements in the 12 months to March 2023 were:

  • Programmers and Software Development Professionals (8%)
  • HR and Industrial Relations Officers (4%)
  • Sales Related Occupations (3%)
  • Chartered and Certified Accountants (3%)
  • Civil Engineers. (3%)

Skills required

The top 5 most desired baseline skills demanded by employers in the job postings over the 12 months to March 2023 were:

  • Communications
  • Management
  • Detail oriented
  • Research
  • Sales

As well as baseline skills, employers also demand specialised skills, the top five in job postings over the 12 months to March 2023 were:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Auditing
  • Accounting
  • Procurement

Notes and sources:

Information for this article was obtained using Lightcast. Data range used was April 2022 to March 2023. This analysis includes all online job postings with the word ‘graduate’ included within the post. Due to limitations in gathering the data, please use the information provided as part of the larger picture regarding graduate opportunities.

The Skills Barometer produced by the Ulster University Economy Policy Centre is available at:


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