Project management skills develop graduate

How to Develop Project Management Skills as a Graduate

As a graduate, you are typically assigned specific projects by your manager. Although you may not have control over the broader scope of projects within your team, it is still essential to develop project management skills for your own workload. This will not only help manage your current tasks, but will also improve your leadership skills as you develop in your career.

Here are 4 ways you can develop project management skills as a grad:


1. Seek Out New Opportunities

Communicate your interest in project management and ask your manager if there are smaller projects you can lead or contribute to. If a new project is forming in your department, volunteer to be part of the team. This allows you to learn from experienced colleagues and gain exposure to different stages of project execution.

As part of this new project, request to shadow a senior manager with project management experience. Observe how they manage their time, delegate tasks, and communicate with stakeholders.


2. Develop Both Hard and Soft Skills

Hereafter, familiarise yourself with project management software such as Teamwork, Asana, Trello, or Microsoft Project. Familiarity with these tools will enhance your ability to plan, track, and manage projects.

Improving hard skills is important, but remember to also focus on improving soft skills, such as communication and risk management. Learning how to effectively communicate and identify risks will develop your skills in future. Visit our previous blog post, ‘3 Reasons Why Soft Skills are Important for Graduates‘.


3. Learn From Your Mentor

As a For Purpose graduate, you receive a mentor who is highly experienced within their field. Use their experience to learn from them – ask how they manage their projects and to share best tips for developing your own skills. Hereafter, you could create a development plan with your mentor to help your progress.


4. Keep Track of Your Learnings

Create a document of your achievements to date and the skills you’ve developed. This documentation can be valuable when discussing your progress with your manager or applying for future roles. Keeping track of your learnings will also be useful if you’re considering working towards gaining a project management accreditation, such as a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.


Remember, being proactive and demonstrating your eagerness to learn are key. Spend time self-learning and networking to get the most exposure to project management development. By actively seeking opportunities and showcasing your initiative, you can gain valuable project management experience within your graduate role – this will position you strongly for future opportunities within your organisation or elsewhere.


Want to learn more?

Are you a graduate, eager to learn more tips around workload management, skills development and more? Visit our news page here, or find out more about the For Purpose Graduate Programme here.


How to develop leadership skills as a graduate leader

How to Develop Leadership Skills as a Graduate

Being a leader as a graduate may seem like an oxymoron. Most graduates believe that in order to be a leader, you must have years of experience, confidence and a specific skillset. However, that is not the case. Leadership applies to everyone, regardless of title or rank, as each individual’s actions impact their team or organisation.

What are Leadership Skills?

Leadership is the development of an initial vision and the ability to motivate others to pursue it, recognising and harnessing individuals’ motivations to achieve a common goal. Some common leadership skills include:

  1. Visionary: The ability to see the big picture, set clear goals, and inspire others to work towards them.
  2. Decision-Making: Making sound judgements, even in uncertain situations.
  3. Communication: Expressing ideas clearly, concisely, and persuasively, both verbally and in writing.
  4. Motivation: Enthusiastically inspiring and motivating others to achieve their full potential.
  5. Delegation: Assigning tasks effectively and trusting others to complete them.
  6. Problem-Solving: The ability to analyse situations, identify solutions, and overcome challenges.
  7. Teamwork: Working collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal.
  8. Empathy: Understanding and considering the feelings and perspectives of others.
  9. Integrity: Being honest, ethical, and trustworthy.
  10. Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks and persevere in the face of challenges.


How to Develop Your Leadership Skills

You may be aware of the leadership skills you naturally possess, and specific areas you need to work on. You can develop these skills further by accepting new responsibilities within your role, getting involved in teambuilding exercises, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and building connections with different members of your organisation. Not only will you develop your leadership skills by doing this, but you will also gain a better idea of the broader organisation and improve your knowledge overall.

Remember, leadership isn’t about a title, it’s about your mindset and actions. By taking initiative, demonstrating your skills, and fostering a positive work environment, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a leader in your graduate role. This early investment in leadership development will set you apart and pave the way for future career success.


Get in Touch

At For Purpose, we support our graduates to become leaders by providing a mentor to support their ambitions, organising monthly learning seminars and creating a network of like-minded graduates with access to ongoing resources.

If you’re interested in becoming a For Purpose graduate, see our Current Vacancies here, or visit our webpage for more information on our programme.

For specific enquiries, contact our Recruitment Consultant, Aoife Duff at

4 Tips for Workload Management

4 Tips for Workload Management

Many graduates in nonprofit organisations have a varied workload, which can seem overwhelming to manage. In college, our deadlines are often fixed, but in a busy workplace, we must create our own deadlines and prioritise smaller tasks in order to achieve our goals. Time management is a skill worth developing early in your career. Therefore, we invited Jane Trenaman to share her tips at our recent For Purpose Tuesdays session. Here are some of her tips, along with our teams recommendations.


1. Prioritising

When we initially look at our to-do list, it can seem like every task is of high priority and high urgency. However, this is usually not the case. Taking time to go through each task’s deadline and manage realistic timelines is very important, as it’s impossible to complete everything on your to-do list in one day. We must be realistic when prioritising what is important and urgent, and what can be pushed down the priority list.

A helpful tool to use is the ‘Rock, Pebbles, Sand’ analogy, which represents:

  • Rock: Big, important tasks/goals.
  • Pebbles: Smaller tasks/activities.
  • Sand: Minor tasks/distractions.


Sand Pebbles Rock analogy

Image Source: LinkedIn: Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand Story, Sridhar M.


The key takeaway of this analogy is that if you fill your jar (representing your time and energy) with sand first, there won’t be enough room for the pebbles and rocks. However, if you prioritize the rocks (most important tasks) and then fit in the pebbles (less critical tasks) around them, you’ll still have space for the sand (minor tasks and distractions) without compromising your essential goals and priorities. In essence, the rock, pebbles, and sand analogy encourages you to focus on what matters most, so you can prioritise your time and energy accordingly.


2. Time Blocking

Now that you’ve identified your rocks, pebbles and sand, you may have a clearer vision on what your larger goals are. In order to avoid getting bogged down with smaller tasks, you must block out time specifically focused on these larger tasks. Some people refer to this as ‘time blocking’, ‘calendar blocking’ or ‘focus time’. This allocates your day into specific, uninterrupted time to spend on those larger tasks.

When you’re at the planning stage, It’s important to make sure that you don’t overcommit. Be realistic with what you can achieve in a given day. Focus time should be spent on a specific project, so give yourself adequate time to fully commit.



3. Eliminating Distractions

Eliminating distractions entirely can be difficult – but it’s a good idea to start with obvious ones. This is largely individualistic, as some people find working with music to be stimulating, whilst others find it distracting. Take some time to pinpoint what distracts you, then try to cut down on those distractions and replace them with things that motivate or stimulate you. If you’re unsure, some common ones are to ensure your work environment is comfortable, your personal phone is out of sight and your tabs are minimised on your laptop so you aren’t jumping between tasks. For more examples on how to maintain focus at work, see our previous blog here.



4. Assertive Communication

If you are completing all of the above tips, yet still find your workload to be unmanageable, speak to your manager. Luckily for our For Purpose graduates, they also have the option of speaking to their mentor. Having someone to speak to regarding your workload is really important at any point in your career, but particularly at the beginning.

Alternatively, if this doesn’t help, it might be time to learn how to communicate assertively. One way to assertively communicate your workload is by outlining your upcoming deadlines and key priorities each week, so you can manage the expectations of your colleagues, or manager.



Want to learn more?

Learning how to manage your workload takes time and patience. What works for you, may not work for others, and understanding how you work best will help balance your tasks. Interested in some time management quotes for your own motivation? Visit here.

Gaining the tools and support to develop your time management skills is a real benefit in your first year of graduating. At For Purpose, we aim to provide you with these tools to ensure you’re developing professionally through learning seminars, mentoring and peer-networking.


Interested in a career with impact? Visit our webpage here, or contact Fergal O’Sullivan, Director of Talent Management.


long term careers for purpose

4 Insights into Future Graduate Recruitment Trends

With continual advancements in technology and evolving employer preferences, recruitment and retention for graduates within the nonprofit sector are constantly evolving. To keep on top of future trends, our Programme Coordinator, Aoife Duff, attended a breakfast briefing on “Early Careers: A Turning Point? Looking to 2024 and beyond’.

Here are 4 key takeaways on the learnings from Dan Doherty, Early Careers Lead Solutions Architect at Group GTI on the Future of Graduate Recruitment Trends.


1. Skills Focused Future

A skill can be defined as “an individual’s ability to perform a specific task or solve a problem at a high level of proficiency.” According to a recent study, 54% of employers are moving to skills-based hiring in the next five years. Currently, the market is tight and employers aren’t seeing skilled candidates in their process.

It may seem difficult to confidently identify your skills as a graduate. Many graduates believe they haven’t developed specific skills before diving into full-time employment. However, this is not the case. Most graduates have developed both hard and soft skills from their education and work experience, such as communication skills, digital skills and writing skills. Considering the future job market, it’s therefore essential for graduates to highlight their skills in their CV, provide examples in their interviews, and apply them within their graduate positions.


2. Rethinking Recruitment Processes

Following from our previous point, it is likely that we will see a shift in organisation’s recruitment processes. Assessing candidates via practical exercises or simulations could be a more effective way of interviewing, as it requires candidates to demonstrate their skills in action.

It is important for graduates to prepare for skills-based assessments. Whilst CV clinics and interview coaching are supports widely available to students, students often lack support for skills based assessments. Colleges may need to create new learning platforms to help graduates prepare for such interviews in future.


3. Shift in Demand for Talent

Post Covid, there was an initial surge of interest in fields such as science, research and development (R&D), and healthcare. However, the focus has now shifted back to sectors such as finance & accounting, engineering, and consulting.

It is likely that we will see increased competition for talent in certain sectors. With many employers seeking graduates with specific qualifications, it becomes more challenging to hire individuals with similar skillsets. For professions such as law or human resources (HR), the competition is particularly high, with three times more employers seeking candidates with these skills. As a result, hiring talent from traditional sources may become more difficult. To attract and retain early-career professionals, it may be necessary to implement additional incentives.


4. Use of AI 

Public opinion on the use of AI is somewhat split. For employers in social impact organisations, there’s a dilemma regarding whether to prioritise detecting AI-related skills in candidates or assessing their ability to use AI ethically and effectively. Employers will have to decide their ethical stance of integrating AI into various roles and whether it aligns with your organisation’s values. According to Indeed, there has been a 20 fold increase in jobs with AI mentioned in the title or job description since ChatGPT launched late last year, which indicates the growing importance of AI-related skills in the workforce.

Although the effective use of AI will be an increasingly in-demand skill for employers, graduates need to understand the importance, and potential implications of AI. If they are considering working for a social impact organisation, the ethical use of AI should be considered and discussed. Employers may want to consider this discussion point as part of their interview questions, to ensure the candidate is the right fit for your organisations values.



The landscape of graduate recruitment within the nonprofit sector is evolving for both employers and candidates. From the increasing emphasis on skills-based hiring, to the need for innovative recruitment processes and the changing demand for talent across sectors, it’s evident that adaptation is key. As we navigate these changes, it’s crucial for graduates to highlight their skills and adapt to the evolving demands of the job market.

Get in Touch

For more information on these key takeaways, contact our Programme Coordinator, Aoife Duff. To find out more about For Purpose, visit our webpage.


goal setting for purpose

How to set intentional goals as a graduate

Taking the time to set intentional goals as a graduate can be difficult. It’s easy to get caught up in daily tasks, whilst your goals get placed down the priority list. However, it’s important to set time aside to prioritise intentional goals, so you can hold yourself accountable and ensure you stay on the right path.

Our last For Purpose Tuesday session was hosted by one of our previous graduates, Shannon Barrett. Shannon set a goal of becoming Recruitment Consultant at 2into3 and in under two years, she has successfully achieved it.

Shannon discussed how to set goals intentionally with our graduates.


Why is it important to set intentional goals as a graduate?


  • Provides direction and motivation to take action
  • Helps identify what’s important
  • Help create your individual pathway
  • Can encourage productivity and reduce wasted time
  • Helps to feel in control of your own future


How to set intentional goals as a graduate

It is important to set time aside to review your goals on a weekly, or monthly basis. Creating a specific time to focus on your goals will help build this habit in your professional development.

Shannon advises our graduates to use the following framework for outlining goals:

The SMARTER acronym

SMARTER goal setting for purpose

  • Specific

It’s important to be specific with your goals, such as asking, What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important? Who is involved? Where will I achieve this goal? Which resources or limits are involved?

  • Measured

Create measurable goals to ensure that you have a clear way to define success / failure. Provide exact figures outlining exactly how much you want to achieve. For example, “I will attend 3 webinars to develop my professional knowledge by the end of the year.”

  • Attainable

It’s important to be ambitious with your goals, yet realistic. You should be aiming to push yourself out of your comfort zone, yet not to an entirely unrealistic level.

  • Relevant

Ask yourself if this goal is relevant to your long term objectives. How will it benefit you in the long run?

  • Time-bound

Creating a timeline for when you’d like to achieve your goals will help achieve them in a given period.

  • Evaluated

It’s important to reflect and evaluate your goals to decide if they’re still right for you. Don’t be afraid to revise these goals on a regular basis.

  • Rewarded

Make sure to reward yourself for achieving certain milestones. It’s important to take pride in what you have achieved, reward yourself accordingly and reflect before moving onto your next goal!

Goal setting at For Purpose

At For Purpose, we value intentional goal setting as a means of developing our graduates’ careers. We connect our graduates with a mentor to set intentional goals, reflect on their work and discuss any shortcomings. This provides a safe place for graduates to discuss their goals, or any potential issues they may be having.

If you’re interested in investing in graduate talent and require support, contact our Director of Talent Management, Fergal O’Sullivan.

3 Techniques to improve focus at work

3 Techniques To Improve Focus At Work

Nowadays, it’s extremely hard to maintain focus when our attention can be easily divided. The pressure of completing tasks, staying off social media and giving each project your undivided attention is proving harder as technology develops and distractions increase. Therefore, it is important to use tools to maintain your focus during your workday. During our previous For Purpose Tuesday learning seminar, we outlined some useful techniques to improve your efficiency whilst working.

3 techniques to improve your focus at work:


1. The Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower Decision Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a task management tool that helps organise and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. By using this tool at the start of each day, you can divide your tasks into four boxes based on the tasks to do first, the tasks to schedule for later, tasks you’ll delegate, and the tasks you’ll delete. This is a great tool for de-cluttering your mind, focusing on top priorities and ensuring your energy is assigned to significant projects. This is particularly useful at the start of the week, when upcoming tasks can seem overwhelming.


2. Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique splits tasks into 25 minute intervals, followed by a 5 minute break. This is extremely useful if you like working in small bursts of energy and enjoy setting your projects set against a timer. A useful website is, where you can list each task at the start of your day to hold yourself accountable. It also provides an estimated finish time, which is good for setting realistic expectations around what you can complete each day. Upon using this technique repetitively, it helps gain a better understanding of how long each task typically takes. Therefore, the Pomodoro technique helps your time management skills in the long run.


3. Habit Stacking

Habit Stacking

According to James Clear, author of best-selling book, ‘Atomic Habits‘, it takes 66 days for a habit to become automatic. For routine aspects of your work, it makes sense to create habit stacks.

For example, creating a habit to start your day by checking emails, flagging important items, creating a to-do list, inserting them into your Eisenhower Matrix and implementing ‘Urgent & Important’ tasks into, you have created your first daily habit stack.

The idea behind habit stacking is that they’re easy to follow, easy to implement and don’t require significant brain power. After routinely doing so, these positive habits should become automatic. It’s important to remember that a habit stack is personal to how you work. This may vary entirely depending on the individual. It’s important to remember your learning style and how you work most efficiently, depending on your role and working environment.


Maintaining focus throughout the day can be difficult. However, with these techniques, you should be able to identify your priorities more easily and stay on track. Remember, minimising distractions at the beginning of your day, such as putting your phone on airplane mode and working in a suitable environment, if possible, should all help your focus throughout the work day.


“Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments.” –

Contact Us

Are you considering adding graduate talent to your team and require support, graduate development and learning opportunities? Contact Fergal O’Sullivan, Director of Talent Management, at For more information on the For Purpose Graduate Programme, visit our website here.

Soft Skills for Graduates For Purpose

3 Reasons Why Soft Skills Are Important For Graduates

Oftentimes, graduates focus on developing specific technical abilities, whilst neglecting the development of communication skills, teamwork abilities and personal growth. Although hard skills are essential for completing specific tasks, soft skills are crucial for your ability to connect, communicate, empathise and grow in your organisation.

According to Investopedia, soft skills are “character traits and interpersonal skills that characterise a person’s relationships with other people. In the workplace, soft skills are considered to complement hard skills, which refer to a person’s knowledge and occupational skills.” Here are 3 specific reasons why developing soft skills is important for graduates.


1. Communication

Being comfortable with communicating effectively will help your relationship with colleagues, clients and partners. Having strong communication is a fantastic asset during problem solving, crisis management and workplace culture. As a graduate, you can develop your communication skills through college teamwork projects, being involved in college societies or voluntary groups. Over time, exposure to different groups of people should massively improve communication skills.


2. Teamwork

Another important soft skill is teamwork. Oftentimes, graduates are placed within a new team, and having the ability to understand group dynamics is extremely important. For smaller organisations, graduates may be working directly with senior managers, or the CEO. Therefore, by developing experience in teams, you can apply your knowledge of compromising in groups, focusing on completing goals and being a team player. Being involved and exposed to groups in college, whether it is sports, part-time work, or creating your own team, will be extremely beneficial to your graduate position.


3. Adaptability

Having the ability to adapt to new experiences is another important soft skill. Graduates will be provided with a range of new, and oftentimes exciting, opportunities and responsibilities. This is particularly apparent in nonprofit, charitable and social enterprise organisations. Having the ability to learn new skills, assume responsibility and tackle new challenges is a crucial skill that many social impact organisations seek. By learning new things, pushing out of your comfort zone and volunteering for new opportunities during college, you will become more adaptable with increased transferable skills.



Although many jobs require technical abilities, it is so important to develop soft skills as a graduate. This will ensure you’re an adaptable candidate with transferable skills when applying to your chosen organisation. Soft skills benefit everyone in the long run, with an increased ability to connect, communicate, empathise and grow in your organisation.

If you are interested in applying your skills to a graduate position, visit our current vacancies or contact our Programme Co-ordinator, Aoife Duff, for more information on graduate development.

Young Voices in Nonprofit Sector

The Importance Of Encouraging Graduates’ Professional Input

Early career professionals are ambitious, keen to learn, with an array of new ideas. Despite this, senior employees can, oftentimes unknowingly, overshadow young professional’s voices. It is important to remember that graduates and young professional’s are the future leaders within our organisations. Therefore, it is extremely important to encourage young voices in the nonprofit, charitable and social impact sector as they develop in their career.

Here are some reasons why it is important to encourage graduates’ professional input:


1. Fresh perspective

Graduates and young professionals often arrive into organisations with a fresh perspective. Each generation holds new ideologies and progressive  ideas on topics such as work-life balance, organisational structure and solutions to outdated problems. Furthermore, young professionals may have specific knowledge on new technologies or techniques that could benefit the entire organisation. By speaking up, they can share their knowledge and help the team grow.


2. Willingness to learn

Graduates and young professionals are often eager to learn and grow in their careers. By enabling them to ask questions, process new information and become involved in diverse projects, they can learn from more experienced team members and gain new skills. It is important to feed into young professional’s willingness to learn, both for their own autonomy, and for the benefit of your organisation.


3. Confidence

Engaging in professional discussions early in their career can help young professionals build confidence. Moreover, developing confidence can help individuals take initiative on leading teams. We want our future leaders to be confident, assured, strong leaders. This encouragement should begin early in their career and be built upon regularly through learning, development and professional exposure.


4. Career development

Encouraging young professionals in your organisation could lead to greater interest in their role and a focus on career development within your organisation. Encourage these employees to consider their career progression, long-term goals and put plans in place to help achieve them. This includes offering new challenges and responsibilities.


About For Purpose

At For Purpose, we strongly believe in encouraging our graduates to share new ideas within their roles and assume their own autonomy. Through learning seminars, mentoring and peer-led development, we provide our young professionals with the tools to succeed in their careers.

Oftentimes, young professional’s voices can get lost within an organisation. We know how important it is to try and overcome this narrative. Therefore, we have advocated for our graduates to present at ‘The Wheel Summit’ on 23rd May to discuss ‘Early Career Professionals: Unifying Ambition and Action’. This is a fantastic opportunity for their voices to be heard at Ireland’s largest nonprofit sector event. Click here to learn more.

If your organisation is interested in adding graduate talent to your team, please contact our Head of For Purpose, Dr. Rhonda Wynne.

Powerful Social Change

The Importance Of Advocacy For Powerful Social Change

Advocacy is an incredibly powerful tool for creating social change, with movements such as ‘MeToo’ and ‘Black Live Matters’ being widely supported to advocate for those who have an under-represented voice.

Advocacy is defined as, “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal”, according to Miriam Webster. At our recent For Purpose Tuesday event, Jane Trenaman, our For Purpose mentor, described advocacy at 3 levels: self-advocacy, advocating for a specific cause and advocating for the social impact sector. Each element of advocacy is extremely important for powerful social change.


How we advocate for ourselves as individuals should not be overlooked. Holding positive belief in yourself to advocate and create social change is not only important for your own self-esteem, but for those you are advocating on behalf of.

Self-advocacy means knowing your rights, your worth and contributions, speaking up for yourself, and taking action. It is also important to have:

• Assertive communication,
• Moral courage,
• Belief in your experience, opportunities and genetics,
• Open-mindedness,
• Self-reflection,
• Self-awareness.

It is worth noting that some people naturally possess these traits, due to experience, genetics or opportunities. However, it is important to take time to self-reflect on how you can develop your strengths, and take small steps to improve any weaknesses. Oftentimes, people want to advocate for others, but do not have the confidence to do so. Small changes such as pushing yourself slightly out of your comfort zone, listening to confidence/mindset podcasts, or even watching short videos such as ‘Amy Cuddy – More confidence in 2 minutes’, could help.

Taking these small steps can make a big difference when advocating for yourself. Improving your abilities, mindset and qualities will help make you an advocate for yourself, and place you in a better position to advocate for others.


Advocating for a specific cause

If we are in a privileged position where we advocate for ourselves and have a voice, it is important to advocate for those who don’t have a voice. Movements such as ‘MeToo’ and ‘Black Live Matters’ were supported widely to advocate for those who have an under-represented voice in society. Amplifying their unheard voices has contributed to powerful systemic change in the past, and continues to do so.

Align yourself, or your organisation, with a cause that you truly believe in. Powerful change can be created through holding individuals accountable, influencing policy through lobbying and creating partnerships with government stakeholders.


Advocating for the social impact sector

The social impact sector works continually towards achieving social change. Nonprofit and charitable organisations have a clear mission and vision on what social issue they want to help combat and therefore, is important to be an advocate for the broader sector. Oftentimes, it debated whether charities have the ‘right’ to have a presence in the political sphere. However, once an organisation is clear about their mission and the change that needs to happen to facilitate it, this is exactly the space in which they should be.


It is so important to be an advocate for yourself, for those who do not have a voice and for the broader social impact sector. Remember that advocacy is a long-term effort, and change may take time. Stay focused on your goals and keep working towards them, even in the face of obstacles.

If you are a graduate interested in contributing to the social impact sector, visit our website or contact Rhonda Wynne.


Key points, research and expertise provided by Jane Trenaman, Nonprofit Leadership & Fundraising Consultant and For Purpose Mentor.

Career Students Cost of Living 2023

How Cost Of Living Crisis Impacts Student Career Decisions

Many of us associate university as the best years of our lives. It is a chance to experience university culture and thrive outside the confines of parental guidance. However, the university experience is changing as many students struggle to be financially independent, juggling part-time jobs with their studies and other commitments.

Our Programme Co-ordinator, Aoife Duff, attended a recent gradireland Breakfast Masterclass event, ‘Building the graduate skills pipeline: How to attract, engage, and recruit next-gen talent’. There were some interesting takeaways from key speaker, Rachel Johnson, Strategic Development Lead at Cibyl. The data below is listed in two of Cibyl’s surveys: Cost-of-Living Survey and Graduate Research Ireland Survey.


Impact on student experience

A recent survey has revealed that the cost-of-living crisis and mental health are two biggest concerns for students. Many students are no longer eating out and are missing out on social events, while others are avoiding using heating/electricity and even missing lecturers to save on travel costs. In fact, financial management is a big worry for 80% of students, with many choosing to live at home to avoid the financial burden.


Changing career aspirations

The cost-of-living crisis has created a profound impact on student career aspirations, with many students considering the obstacles to a graduate job. In fact, 4 in 5 are anxious about job hunting with the cost-of-living crisis amplifying anxiety. Many have changed their career priorities by broadening their career interests and choosing different roles altogether.

Job income and stability has become a greater focus for graduates, with 83% of graduates seeking attractive employer benefits and a high starting salary. This is now more important than other schemes, such as sustainability policies and diversity initiatives. Some graduates are even choosing a high salary over a genuine interest in the role or organisation. Graduates are also choosing roles that are closer to home and/or have flexible hybrid working options to save on relocation and transportation costs.


What can employers do to help?

  1. Graduates are looking for support and understanding. Employers can showcase what they are doing to help employees with the cost-of-living crisis.
  2. Students have missed out on university social life due to the covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis. Offering free networking events will gain student interest and make your organisation more attractive.
  3. A high cost-of-living means students are living with parents for university and leaving Ireland for a graduate job. High wages, help with relocation and providing work-from-home equipment will stop graduates leaving Ireland for jobs.
  4. Mental health is also a big concern for students and graduates. Providing support will not only attractive to students but will also help workplace productivity.
  5. Students are broadening their career options and switching roles/sector choices. They are also changing their priorities in an employer. Competitive benefits are key to attracting and retaining early career hires.


What does this mean for social impact organisations?

Due to the cost of living crisis, social impact organisations need to support their graduates with a fair market-rate salary. This means completing salary benchmarking. Furthermore, it might be worth asking your current younger employees what the most important issues are for them. Build out policies around these issues and ensure they are followed up and implemented, to avoid a ‘tick-box’ process.


Get in Touch

If you’re a social impact organisation, wanting to attract graduates to your organisation, contact our Head of For Purpose, Dr. Rhonda Wynne at For more information on our programme, visit here.