The Employment Market in Ireland

With the phenomenal growth of the Irish economy in recent years, with its gross domestic product, GDP, being among the highest in Europe (4.7 in the first quarter of 2006), there has been a tremendous boost, more than anywhere else in Europe, in the employment market.

There has continued to be jobs for most graduates, especially in the field of engineering, business and information technology, with graduate unemployment nine months after graduation only 3%; as well as just 4.5% unemployment rate (which is much below the EU average) even with the over 150, 000 emigrants mainly from Poland and the Baltic states that have been taken off the employment market in Ireland.

Once used to be predominately agricultural and manufacturing based, the Irish economy has remarkably transformed into being high technology, producing top quality products particularly in science and computer technologies.

In the soft ware industry alone over 25, 000 people are employed by about 120 multinationals, which give employment to about half of the number, and about 700 small scale and medium scale Irish professional firms, putting Ireland top over the US as the world's biggest exporter of soft ware.

Another industry which is absorbing graduates from the employment market as fast as they are released into it after graduation from school in Ireland is the pharmaceutical industry. Began only about three decades ago and still growing, the industry presently provides employment for over 16, 000 people.

Undoubtedly one of the largest employing sectors in Ireland is the medical devices and diagnostics industry. Here, 22,000 people, which represent 9% of the country's manufacturing workforce, are gainfully employed.

The internationally traded service sectors in Ireland have never before shown as much growth as is now being experienced, accounting for 66% of employment in 2004. Including financial services and e-business, over 7, 000 people in fields such as treasury management, global investment services and mutual funds management have found employment.

Ireland has also gained significant share in the total European international call center business. Irish based businesses own one third of this market, which gives employment to over 10, 000 people.

With the increasing number of multinational companies developing service centers in Ireland, this sector is bound to grow further in years to come, providing Irish graduates with ready employment.

The great boost in the Irish employment market has caused a situation where several advertised job vacancies almost in every sector, such as education, banking, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, financial services, telecoms, the hotel industry, e-commence, and call center, are not responded to due to severe shortage of qualified individuals. This has unavoidably led to employers falling over one another to provide the best working condition and incentives to keep their staff.

Wages and salaries are now highly competitive than it used to be, with employers offering flexible working conditions such as "teleworking" and family policies.

This has continually attracted non-nationals from around Europe who find working in Ireland a great deal. However, in spite of the booming employment market in Ireland, there is the view that things may not remain this good for job hunters for long. A job is no longer 9 to 5 guaranteed employment for life, couple with the increasing orientation towards working longer hours and contracting jobs, especially those related to information technology