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Apr 232010

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Whether you’re a job-seeker looking for the perfect position, an employer seeking the best talent, or a recruitment professional who’s job it is to bring the two together, keeping yourself abreast of current and future trends in the Irish labour market is an important element of the recruitment process.

In March the Irish employment and training agency FÁS and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published their 13th annual joint report in the manpower forecasting series: "Occupational Employment Forecasts 2015", including full medium-term forecasts of the sectoral and occupational structure of the Irish labour market.

Here’s a summary of the key changes they predict in Ireland’s labour market between now and 2015:

• Changes are likely in the sectoral and skills mix of employment. While employment in most occupations is expected to recover from the lows of 2010, the rate and extent of recovery will vary considerably by occupation, with some emerging from the recession to show relatively strong employment growth, while others fail to attain their pre-recession levels before 2015.

• The occupations expected to exceed pre-recession peak levels are concentrated at the higher end of the skill scale, and include professionals and associate professionals (technicians) in science, engineering, business services and IT. Some of the occupations that, while they will they will grow after 2010, are not expected to hit their peak pre-recession levels include skilled building workers, production operatives, unskilled manual workers, sales assistants and clerks.

• Combined managers/proprietors, professionals and associate professionals are expected to account for 38% of the total workforce in 2015 compared to 34% in 2008 (and 31% in 1996). When these groups are combined with clerical workers, the forecasts suggest that, in 2015, 50% of workers will be in what are traditionally considsered "white collar" roles (up from 44% in 1996).

• Overall employment level is based on the ESRI’s latest forecasts for recovery, which projects that employment in 2015 will be some 80,000 below the peak level reached in 2008. However, given an estimated loss of 330,000 jobs between the 2008 peak and 2010, the projection suggests that the economic recovery, which is expected to begin towards the end of 2010, will generate 250,000 additional jobs between now and 2015.

• The number of females in employment is expected to exceed its pre-recession level by 2015, while male employment, although growing beyond 2010, is not expected to recover to the pre-recession level by 2015. Females are gaining share in many occupations, especially high skilled ones. By 2015, females are expected to account for more than a half of business services professionals and almost a half of all managers.

• Improvements in the educational profile are likely to continue during the forecasting period, with the share of third level graduates increasing in all occupations. By 2015, over 90% of all professionals are expected to hold a third level qualification.

While the report, and the underlying the projections on which its forecasts are based, has been produced, has been produced during a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, and by necessity is underpinned by a number of assumptions concerning things like the rate of international economic recovery, overall Irish competitiveness, restoration of the financial sector, nominal wage rates and migratory flows, the authors are nonetheless confident that the direction of the skills/occupational changes projected is likely to reflect the reality that unfolds.

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