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Expert group say there's a skills gap

Wednesday, July 23 15:09:16

More people were employed the last year, there were declines in the number of unemployed and a fall in the number of redundancies though there are skills shortages in key sectors.

That's according to an analysis of the labour market in the National Skills Bulletin 2014 from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) today, which also shows that some sectors are finding it hard to find qualified staff.

Looking at skills shortages, it found a deficit of qualified people in ICT (software developers, databases/big data, specific product knowledge, IT security, technical support, networking and infrastructure), Engineering (production and process engineering; quality and validation; product development and design and Science (R and D, science and business; science and sales).

There were also shortages in business and finance (accountants, quantitative analysts (e.g. financial analysts, statisticians, economists, actuaries, risk analysts); management consultants.

Commenting, Una Halligan, Chairperson of the EGFSN said: "Almost all indicators show improvements in the Irish labour market and this is to be welcomed. However, challenges continue to exist, with high unemployment rates persisting for those previously employed in construction and elementary occupations, young entrants to the labour market and people with less than higher secondary education attainment."

She continued: "Nonetheless, in 2013, mentions of difficult-to-fill vacancies were more frequent than in preceding years. In most cases these were confined to specialised areas and are small in numbers. Shortages have been identified in a number of areas, including ICT, engineering, health, business and finance. Companies also continue to experience difficulty in sourcing multilingual staff in the areas of sales/customer care, supply chain and credit control."

The Irish labour market remains flexible, with a considerable amount of people moving between employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and back during 2013. Importantly, of the one million-plus transitions that took place in 2013, there were more transitions into employment than exits to unemployment and economic inactivity, it concludes.

The analysis also shows that certain segments of the labour market are characterised with high turnover, both in terms of movement between occupations and between positions in the same occupation. A high incidence of transitory employment has been identified for a number of occupations, including teachers, doctors, carers, clerks, sales, food operatives, taxi drivers and many elementary occupations (e.g. hospitality, cleaning, construction etc.). The analysis highlights the fact that maintaining continuity of employment may be an issue for some participants in the labour market.

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