Ireland pursues a vision of optimal employment

13 Aug 2018

Grafton Street, Dublin. Image: Giancarlo Liguori/Shutterstock

Cabinet agrees to create a new Future Jobs 2019 programme to spur the next phase of Ireland’s economic development.

As Ireland reaches full employment, the country needs to think smarter and be more strategic, said An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, as he revealed plans to develop the Future Jobs 2019 Programme. The key will be optimal employment.

In essence, full employment won’t be enough, and Ireland needs to be box clever to ensure the country enjoys optimal employment where people can be the best they can be. Cities and regions such as Limerick are already well on their way towards figuring out what optimal employment will look like.

‘We want to create the jobs of the future, jobs that will be around in 20 years’ time, jobs which pay well and offer employment security’

In unveiling the new focus for Future Jobs 2019, Varadkar pointed out the remarkable turnaround in the Irish economy, whereby unemployment has fallen from a high of 16pc to now just 5.1pc with almost 360,000 jobs created since 2012.

Forecast growth for 2018 is 5.6pc, driven by record exports and underpinned by solid domestic demand.

However, maintaining this velocity will not be easy given challenges such as Brexit, the pace of technology, and its impact on business models and sectors. There is also, of course, the enduring rent crisis.

The road to Future Jobs 2019

The Taoiseach said that the new Future Jobs strategy will set out the long-term ambitions for the future of the economy and will translate these into specific short-term actions that will occur annually from 2019.

“Ireland is approaching full employment, with more people at work than ever before and employment growth in every part of the country,” Varadkar said.

“When we had high unemployment, the focus simply had to be on job creation of all forms. Now that we’re approaching full employment, we need to be a bit smarter and a bit more strategic. We want to create the jobs of the future, jobs that will be around in 20 years’ time, jobs which pay well and offer employment security.

“That’s where the Future Jobs Programme comes in. We’re working on this right across Government and will be consulting directly with stakeholders for their views on Future Jobs at a special summit in November. The final policy will be formally launched in January.

“The strategy will also look at how we can make sure that every single part of Ireland benefits and also how we can raise productivity, particularly among SMEs and Irish-owned companies, where we have some catching up to do. And I’m especially keen that it focuses on new technologies as part of our transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, said that Future Jobs 2019 will focus on the quality and productivity of jobs as distinct from job numbers.

“An interdepartmental group has been established to advance the plan. As part of this process, a special Future Jobs summit event will be held in November, which will bring together the various stakeholders, as well as national and international experts.”

Grafton Street, Dublin. Image: Giancarlo Liguori/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years