Shifting Sands

A New Report Looking at Emerging Patterns in the Irish Labour Market

Published on May 10, 2022

Updated on May 19, 2023

Written by Rob Slane

A new report from Ireland’s Further Education and Training Authority, SOLAS, written by Lightcast (fka Emsi Burning Glass), shows how Ireland can use ‘skill adjacencies’ to find the workforce it needs, particularly at a time when Irish employers are struggling to find talent in the wake of the Covid-19 disruption.

The report — Shifting Sands: Navigating the patterns emerging in the Irish labour market post-COVID-19 — analyses the current state of the Irish labour market, providing key insights to policymakers and workers looking to understand the effects of Covid-19, particularly in terms of opportunities for reskilling and upskilling to help get displaced workers in-demand jobs. Amongst other findings, the report highlights:

  • Whilst many occupations are still in demand, others have suffered a large decrease in market share and have not yet recovered.

  • Many job families are experiencing shifting trends in requested skills. For example, Finance occupations have become more focused on soft skills.

  • There is evidence of employers changing their hiring strategies to seek out the talent they need in what is clearly a tight labour market.


Using Skills to Climb the Career Ladder

One of the key insights in the report is its presentation of career pathways for affected workers. Emsi Burning Glass Global Occupation Taxonomies map which skills are required for specific jobs, and this insight can show how workers can transition from one role to another by leveraging the skills they already have. This strategy, known as ‘skill adjacencies’, can show the way to a solid, reliable path forward in an uncertain time.

For example, the occupation ‘Reservation/Ticket Agent’ was hit hard during the pandemic as venues closed, but the data show that Reservation/Ticket Agents have skills that include customer service, sales, and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) — skills that are needed by Customer Service Representatives. A former ticket agent would need to add some additional skills (e.g. product knowledge, social media, and data entry), but they would still be in a good position to obtain a Customer Service Representative job, which requires a similar education level but pays better on average. From there, only a few more skills are required for a promotion to Sales Executive and another salary increase.

Irish Employers Fighting for Talent

As in many countries, the Irish labour market is increasingly tight, and employers are offering new incentives to attract new talent. For example, between 2019 and 2021 the share of job postings mentioning a signing-on bonus increased by 59%, whilst those offering remote work increased by 610%. This reflects the fact that businesses want to expand their pool of potential candidates, but also that employers are bowing to employee preference.

Unlocking economic prosperity starts by creating economic understanding. By showing the current state of the labour market in Ireland and how it has changed over the past three years, policymakers can see where the best opportunities are for developing the Irish workforce, and jobseekers are provided with a meaningful and tangible first step.
You can read the report on the research page of the SOLAS website, or as a PDF here. To find out how we can help you understand your labour market and ‘skills adjacencies’, get in touch.

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