Agriculture and Animal Care

Employment in agriculture and animal care occupations has been declining in recent years, driven primarily by a fall in the number of farmers. The impact of both COVID-19 restrictions and Brexit are likely to affect those employed in elementary agricultural roles (e.g. mushroom and fruit pickers) and horticultural, agricultural and fishing trades (such as gardeners). Issues in terms of disincentives to engage in low paid work, availability of supply through inward migration and a fall in exports is likely to impact employment numbers for these occupations. Declines in employment numbers for farmers is more likely to relate to a demographic effect with a high share in the older age cohort. See National Skills Bulletin 2020 for more details.

9.10 Agriculture & Animal Care Occupations

Overall employment: Approximately 110,000 persons (87% male) were employed in the selected agriculture and animal care occupations, representing 4.7% of the national workforce.

Sector: 85% of overall employment was concentrated in the agriculture sector

Employment growth (5-year): Between 2014 and 2019, overall employment declined by 0.4% (or 2,200 persons) on average annually

Age: The 25-54-year age group accounted for 46% of persons employed. Almost half of those employed were aged 55 years and above, more than twice the national average of 19%

Education: These occupations had the highest share of persons employed with a lower secondary education or less, at 45% compared to 12% nationally; 15% had attained a third level qualification

Full-time/part-time: Over 80% of agriculture & animal care workers were in full-time employment

Nationality: The share of non-Irish workers was well below the national average of 17%, while 95% of workers were Irish nationals.

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