Job Opportunities in Ireland

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The economy of Ireland is a modern knowledge economy, focusing on services and high-tech industries. As an international trading economy, with a small domestic market, Ireland is heavily dependent on foreign trade and investment. Regularly cited as one of the most open markets in the world, and rating highly in globalization indexes.
The most recent SLMRU Recruitment Agency Survey points to an increase in the number of mentions of difficult-to-fill (DTF) vacancies. Although professional occupations (mostly IT programmers, but also for engineers, accountants, doctors etc.) account for the majority of all DTF mentions, there were also frequent mentions across all occupational groups, particularly for technician posts, multilingual sales and customer care.
While shortages exist for a number of occupations across all sectors of the economy, many of these are small in magnitude and in particular niche areas requiring a number of years’ experience.

Skills shortages in Ireland include:

  • Science & Engineering Occupations

The demand for those with science and engineering skills is not confined to these occupations. While output from science and engineering disciplines in the education system has been growing, in the main, in recent years, these graduates are in strong demand across a variety of occupations (e.g. education, finance, public administration etc.). Demand for those working in science and engineering occupations is driven chiefly by high-tech and related industries.
Shortages in these occupations were primarily in niche areas and required a high level of experience. Job titles where shortages were identified included:

  • scientists (chemists, biochemists)
  • engineers (electrical, chemical, automation, validation, mechanical, process, quality control, design)
  • technicians (quality control, process (injection moulding/polymer), maintenance, extrusion)
  • ICT Occupations

The demand for ICT skills is a global phenomenon with skills required across an increasing number of sectors. Although the Irish education and training system appears to be producing a sufficient supply of IT graduates to meet replacement and expansion demand, the evolving nature of the skillsets and the international competition for these skills is resulting in shortages. A high level of experience is also a significant feature in the demand for skills.
Shortages were identified for:

  • IT project managers
  •  software developers/engineers
  • web developers, IT architects (systems, solutions, technical), test/ systems/ network/ security engineers
  • technicians (technical support, systems/database administrators) with language skills
  • Business & Financial Occupations

The future demand for business and financial skills is likely to be affected by the impact of Brexit. Numerous financial services firms have applied for authorisations to operate in Ireland; should these companies relocate from the UK to Ireland, demand will increase for medium and high skilled persons to work in the financial sector. On the other hand, the demand for business skills may be negatively affected by exposure to a decrease in demand for exports of goods and services to the UK.
Shortages were identified for:

  • business intelligence/business analysts
  • financial analyst
  • data analysts

In addition, shortages were identified for accountants with experience in legislation, regulation and compliance; these shortages are considered to be niche and require industry specific experience.

  • Healthcare Occupations

While demand for health services continues to grow in Ireland, recruitment in these occupations is dependent on government funding. As such, there are many occupations where shortages do not exist despite significant demand for services. Pay and conditions of employment remain an issue.

  • medical practitioners (emergency medicine, anaesthetics, paediatric, orthopaedic, general practitioners)
  • nurses (staff, registered, clinical nurse managers, advanced nurse practitioners)
  • radiographers
  • Social & Care Occupations

Changing demographics is the primary driver of employment for these occupations; the demand for childcare workers will decline with the fall in the number of births and, conversely, the demand for care workers will increase due to the aging population.

  • Construction Occupations

In terms of employment growth for these occupations, most relates to skilled trades and operative/elementary occupations. Growth for professional roles has been smaller. Despite this employment growth, however, there remain over 11,000 job ready job seekers who had previously worked in the construction sector, although most of these are in the lower skilled occupations.
Shortages have been identified for:

  • professionals: civil engineers, construction project managers, quantity surveyors
  • trades: shuttering carpenters, shift managers, glaziers, steel erectors, curtain wallers
  • operatives: scaffolders, pipe layers
  • Other Craft Occupations n.e.c.

Further growth in these occupations is likely to be driven by activity in the medium-high and high tech manufacturing sectors, and to a lesser extent, by the construction (e.g. electricians) and wholesale/retail (e.g. mechanics) sectors.
Shortages have been identified for:

  • welders (e.g. TIG/MIG)
  • toolmakers, CNC programmers and fitters (e.g. mechanical/ maintenance) in niche areas e.g. high-tech manufacturing
  • deboners
  • Agriculture & Animal Care Occupations

Employers have identified potential labour shortages in the following occupations:

  • mushroom pickers, fruit pickers
  • dairy farming
  • Hospitality Occupations

The accommodation and food services sector, for which the majority of employment in these occupations occurs, has experienced significant growth in recent years. However, job churn is also a significant factor for these occupations, with over 50,000 recent job hires occurring in 2017 for these occupations.
Shortages have been identified for chefs (executive, head chefs, sous chefs, chef de partie).

  • Transport & Logistics Occupations

Employment for people working in these occupations is primarily in the transport sector, but is also spread across a number of other sectors including industry, wholesale/retail and construction. Four fifths of employment relates to drivers (e.g. truck, taxi, bus, mobile machine). Those working in the transport sector are likely to be affected by the impact of Brexit in terms of the import and export of goods. In the event of a hard Brexit, additional skills will be required in the areas of customs clearance and documentation. Regardless of Brexit, technological changes and automation of processes will result in a need for enhanced digital skills across all occupations in this field.
Shortages have been identified for:

  • crane drivers, 360o/ Reach truck drivers, forklift (VNA) drivers
  • HGV drivers (relates to labour shortages)
  • supply chain managers, demand planning and forecasting analysts, senior planners
  • logistics/supply chain operators & administrators


  • Sales, Marketing & Customer Service Occupations

These occupations span a range of skills levels, from sales assistants to marketing executives. As such, the outlook varies significantly.
A shortage of those with language skills have been identified for:

  • account strategists, inside sales representatives
  • marketing specialists (including digital)
  • contact centre agents, customer service representatives
  • product/account managers.

More information on skills shortages and labour market in Ireland can be found in the National Skills Bulletin 2018



Last modified:31/01/2019