With employment levels of almost 620,000, the Dublin region accounts for just over 30% of the total employment in Ireland.
Moreover, recent employment growth has been the strongest in Dublin, with participation and employment rates ahead of other regions.
However, the recovery in the Dublin region is not equally spread across all segments of the labour market, with employment growing fast in some sectors (e.g. ICT), while slowly in others (e.g. Public Administration and Defence (PAD)) (Figure 1). Such uneven growth across sectors and occupations is resulting in different levels of demand for different skills. However, the issue of availability of skills is not just a matter in relation to growing sectors but also in relation to employment attrition that occurs due to retirements and other exits into economic inactivity that affects sectors.
Expansion demand arises from growth in economic activity and it is therefore important to ensure that an adequate supply of skills is available to support it. It is estimated that, in the Dublin region, growth will result in an additional 15,000 persons in employment annually (Figure 2).
However, with the exception of the construction and ICT sectors, where expansion is expected to be the main component of the demand, in all other sectors, expansion is expected to account for less than half of the total job openings. In fact, the most significant component of the demand arises from replacement of those who leave (due to retirement, illness, full time study etc.), which for the Dublin region is estimated at over 40,000 annually.
Nonetheless, although smaller in magnitude, meeting skill needs arising from expansion demand is imperative, not least because most expanding sectors (e.g. pharma, ICT) are generating wealth through exports of high value added goods and services, and are therefore critical for sustainable growth.
Understanding demand for skills is important for job seekers and students, but also for policy makers in the areas of education and training, career guidance, labour market activation, immigration and enterprise development. It is critical in achieving an alignment of skills on offer and labour market needs.
A network of Regional Skills, led by the Department of Education and Skills, Fora will facilitate the engagement between regional employers and education and training providers to ensure that the supply of skills is adequate to meet the needs of the local labour markets. To connect with the Dublin Region Skills Forum, visit – www.regionalskills.ie/Regions/dublin/
SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, a statutory agency under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills, is responsible for funding, coordinating and providing strategic direction to the Further Education and Training sector in Ireland.