Despite the recession, employment opportunities and some skills shortages – particularly in the ICT area – continue to exist, according to the 2010 update to the National Skills Bulletin, the annual review of employment and skills in Ireland produced by the government-appointed Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN).
The report reveals that while employment declined in most sectors of the economy last year – particularly in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, wholesale and retail – it actually increased in ICT, with modest increases also recorded in the transport, food and health sectors. In addition, as a result of the deregulation and the growth of the renewable-energy sector, employment was up in the energy sector (electricity and gas).
And, while the skills supply generally exceeds demand, the report still finds some areas of skills shortage. The EGFSN said these shortages relate to a small number of posts and are confined to specialists within an occupation – for example, electrical engineers with an expertise in high-voltage grids; senior personnel – for example IT project managers; niche areas – such as telesales with fluency in foreign language; and specific skill mixes – ICT professionals with business development skills, for example.
Recruiters also continued to report difficulty in filling specialist roles in the areas of IT, sales, health, finance, engineering and management, despite the decline in the overall number of advertised vacancies.
The National Skills Bulletin 2010 is the sixth annual report by the EGFSN on skills and occupational trends in Ireland. The report is produced by FÁS on behalf of the EGFSN and draws on the data in the National Skills Database maintained by FÁS.