Ireland ranked as the 5th most attractive labour market in Europe for international job seekers. This is according to new research by jobs site Indeed evaluating 21 countries.
The report shows that there has been a strong rebound in international job search across Europe as international travel restrictions have eased and closed sectors of the economy have reopened. During the pandemic European cross-border job search at its trough fell 32% below pre-pandemic levels, but by April of this year it was off by just 10% and recovering fast.
For Irish based jobseekers looking overseas the trough was also a 32% decline, rebounding to 16% below the pre-pandemic level by April. Searches by people living outside Europe looking for jobs in Ireland fell by 39% at its lowest point, recovering significantly by April, but still 19% below the pre-pandemic average.
The research shows Ireland is one of only 5 markets experiencing a “brain gain” rather than “brain drain” with more incoming interest from jobseekers than outgoing. While most European countries have a negative “net interest score”, in Ireland 8.2% of jobseeker searches were incoming and 7.9% outgoing. The top 5 countries of origin for overseas jobseekers seeking a role in Ireland are the United Kingdom (26%), United States (7%), Spain (5.9%), India (5%) and France (5%).
The trend is driven in part due to labour shortages and demand for qualified workers, particularly in highly-skilled and hard-to-fill positions. The research found that 78% of Irish businesses have hired foreign nationals in the last 5 years, and 80% of businesses plan to recruit foreign nationals for their operations in Ireland in 2022.
Businesses appear to be taking advantage of increased international mobility to fill gaps in domestic labour supply, and it’s notable that roles in some of the hard to fill areas that are attracting the highest share of foreign job seekers. Sectors most likely to attract overseas interest include positions in software development, IT, management and accounting.
Geopolitical events are also influencing cross-border job search patterns. The research is being published the day after the UNHCR’s World Refugee Day and indicates employers across Europe have sought to accommodate refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. In Ireland, 46% of employers surveyed said they had made special arrangements to support Ukraine refugees (the 4th highest of the 8 countries reviewed on this metric), and 30% sought to fast-track Ukrainian refugee job applications.
Despite the numerous benefits of employers drawing from the global talent pool, barriers and challenges remain. Of the Irish employers surveyed, 35% of businesses called on the Government to assist by speeding up the process of issuing visas or permits, 34% said the Government should reduce the cost of securing visas or permits, and 33% said we need to reduce immigration requirements for workers.
Commenting on the research, Economist at Indeed, Jack Kennedy said, "This survey shows that Ireland is an attractive destination for internationally mobile, highly skilled people, whose experience is in high demand, particularly in the technology sector. Many businesses are already taking steps to hire foreign workers, such as posting jobs abroad, hiring recruiters with foreign language skills, and writing job descriptions in multiple languages."
He added, "It's also interesting to see geopolitical events like the tragic war in Ukraine have an impact on other labour markets, with a notable surge of interest particularly in the adjacent Polish market. It’s positive to see that Irish employers have been making efforts to accommodate people fleeing the war."