05.12.2019 Employment numbers up by 63,000 in 2018
The number of people entering employment in 2018 increased by 63,000, bringing the total employed in Ireland up to 2.26 million. That’s according to the 2019 National Skills Bulletin, which SOLAS published in December.
The increase in employment in 2018 is spread across many sectors, particularly for administrative support, education and construction. In terms of occupations, growth in employment has been particularly focused on professional occupations and those in skilled trades such as construction trades and chefs.
Key findings from the Bulletin include:
· The number of people in unemployment was down to 128,800 in the last quarter of 2018 which represents a decline of 15,200 since the last quarter of 2017.
· Inward migration continued to exceed outward migration, resulting in an increase in the positive net migration of 33,800 persons – an increase of 10,600 from 2917. Similarly, the number of employment permits increased – up by a fifth year-on-year.
· Skills shortages are continuing to be encountered across a range of sectors such as ICT, health, education, financial and construction.
· High skilled shortages require both a high level of education and experience and are often in niche areas. Shortages in mid-level skills are driven by a number of factors such as the increased activity in the construction sector, and a lack of suitable candidates with the required language skills for many sales and technical support roles.
· The tightening labour market is also making it difficult for employers to find candidates willing to take up roles in several areas including hospitality, health and agriculture.
· For those getting jobs in professional roles, most held third-level qualifications and were being recruited in full-time positions in sectors such as education, health and ICT.
· For those starting in low skilled jobs (elementary occupations), many were young (under 25 years of age), gaining part-time positions and over half were being employed in the accommodation and food services sector.
· In the last five years there has been a significant fall in the unemployment rate for those previously employed in skilled trades (from 13 per cent in 2013 to 2.6 per cent in 2018).
Speaking on the publication of the report SOLAS CEO, Andrew Brownlee said: “The National Skills Bulletin provides an essential source of information on the labour market in Ireland and the skills needs of the economy. With the likely impact of Brexit yet to be fully understood, the National Skills Bulletin provides an excellent insight into the current standing of the workforce which will assist with any education and training interventions that may be required into the future.
“By providing 300,000 further education and training places each year SOLAS is striving to meet the needs of learners, employers and communities. SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards have recently adopted a more strategic, multi-annual approach to planning and funding which will further enable the sector to respond to these findings.”
Further education meeting skills needs
Commenting further, Mr. Brownlee said: “Taking into account the current labour market at both national and regional level, our strategic performance agreements with Education and Training Boards aim to deliver thirty per cent more employment outcomes from FET programmes along with an increase of 10,000 qualifications in key skills areas annually. We will also continue to develop and roll out new models of apprenticeship and traineeships with targets for 31,000 and 13,900 registrations on these programmes between 2016-2020.
"Providing people with opportunities at all stages of their life to improve their skills or engage in higher or further education and training makes a real, tangible difference to individuals, businesses and communities. The 2019 National Skills Bulletin contains much information to help guide public policy and inform decision making in SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority and other Government Departments."
Also commenting on the publication of the report was Joan McNaboe, SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit, who said: “The Bulletin is a useful tool for understanding the Irish labour market and the performance of the economy as a whole. In this year’s bulletin, for example, the fall in the unemployment rate for those previously employed in skilled trades indicate the supply of skills to the construction sector from the unemployment pool has all but dried up.
“Another example from the report is that the number of employment permits are continuing to increase year-on-year, indicating how Ireland is still an attractive place for people to come to work.
“The National Skills Bulletin is not only a source of information on the labour market, but helps to inform policy formulation in the areas of employment, education and training, career guidance and immigration. The Bulletin also aims to assist students, job seekers, people returning to the labour force, investors and employers in making labour market decisions.”
Produced by SOLAS, the Bulletin provides an overview of the Irish labour market at occupational level, by examining a variety of indicators on demand and supply based on an analysis of a number of data sources, including the CSO's Labour Force Survey. This is the fifteenth in an annual series of reports produced by SOLAS' team of labour market economists and researchers.
The full National Skills Bulletin 2019 is available here.