Ireland doesn’t need another brain drain

The young, highly skilled and educated people of Ireland are worried. A growing number of students do not see a future here and intend to leave. 

A recent study by the Union of Students in Ireland warned that Ireland could be about to lose the next generation of innovators to overseas job markets. According to a survey of 1,000 students, 91% were concerned about their future in Ireland and two-thirds were considering emigration. 

A more attractive place to live

Some continuing issues are to blame for this spike in the number of young people considering moving abroad. In particular, the increase in college fees and the housing crisis. 

94% of those asked said they were directly affected by the accommodation shortage, while only 28% believe they’ll be able to buy their first home between the ages of 35-40. 

“We need to make Ireland a more attractive place for young people to live, work and stay,” says Annie Hoey, President of the USI. 

“USI research shows that 95.3% of students think the cost of college is too high. 73.1% of students said the high cost of college causes them anxiety or stress. 72% of students are struggling financially to stay in college; and if fees go up, 63% of students said they wouldn’t be able to attend college. All of these issues, as well as the accommodation crisis, need to be addressed if we want to keep students and talented young people in Ireland.”

attracting young talent

Six ways to attract grads to your business

These statements from the USI will likely be a cause for concern for employers interested in adding top graduate talent to their ranks. 

While fixing broader social ills are outside the scope of most businesses, the survey did state that the most common reason students gave for finding emigration attractive was the perception that better job opportunities lay abroad. 

Employers keen to hire and retain graduates must consider what they are willing to offer and counteract the lure of employment held overseas. Here are six ways you might convince a college graduate to stay and commit to your firm.


If difficulties finding a place to live are turning prospective employees away from Dublin, helping to eliminate this stress from people’s lives could be a game changer for your hiring strategy. You could link new hires with landlords, arrange house shares with other workers or even go as far to purchase or lease accommodation and make it available to your workforce. 


You can’t compete with the exotic locations that emigration may offer, but perhaps you can provide something even more appealing to a recent graduate; hard cash. A competitive graduate salary will always be useful in attracting top talent to a business. 

recruiting skilled grads


People in general – and graduates in particular – won’t stick around in a place if they don’t see a future for themselves. Make an effort to illustrate the opportunities for growth and progression within your company and prospective employees will flock to you. The best way to stop brain drain in your firm is to give younger staff compelling reasons to stay and work hard. 

Targeted recruiting 

Graduates are more likely to apply to your business if they know who you are and have built some form of relationship with your during their studies. For example, an engineering firm might target the engineering departments of various colleges and arrange recruitment fairs and talks with students with the aim of building their profile amongst students and scouting talent. 

Job titles

It might seem shallow, but research has found that job seekers often put an important-sounding job title as high on their list of priorities. Even if it’s an entry-level graduate role, give the position a good title and applicants will take it seriously. 


Graduates want to keep learning, upskill and progress in their careers. An active mentorship programme can help employees not only learn, but build their professional network. A firm that can show that it takes mentorship seriously will find itself popular with younger talent. 

Article by Peter Flanagan. Images from Shutterstock.

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