Launch of National Skills Bulletin 2018

3 January 2019 

Minister for Education and Skills launches SOLAS' National Skills Bulletin 2018

61,900 additional people entered employment in Ireland in 2017 bringing the total employed in Ireland up to 2.19 million according to the 2018 National Skills Bulletin launched today (Wednesday) by Joe McHugh T.D., Minister for Education and Skills. 
Employment growth was particularly strong in construction, accommodation and food and the education sector. Approximately 400,000 people commenced in a new role last year.
Produced by SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority with responsibility for funding, planning and co-ordinating further education and training in Ireland, on behalf of the National Skills Council, the Bulletin provides an overview of the Irish labour market at occupational level, by examining a variety of indicators on demand and supply based on an analysis of data in the CSO's Labour Force Survey. This is the fourteenth in an annual series of reports produced by SOLAS' team of labour market economists and researchers.
The Bulletin helps to inform policy formulation in the areas of employment, education and training, career guidance and immigration. The Bulletin also aims to assist students, job seekers, people returning to the labour force, investors and employers in making labour market decisions.
As Ireland continued to experience a strengthening labour market, key findings include:

  • An annual increase in employment of 61,900 persons in 2017 to reach 2.19 million
  • Employment growth was particularly strong in construction (increase of 12,300, driven primarily by an increase in employment in skilled trades), accommodation and food (increase of 13,400 relating to waiters, kitchen assistants and chefs) and the education sector  increase of 11,400 relating lecturers, secondary school teachers, education support teachers);
  • Approximately 400,000 people commenced in new roles in 2017. This occurred most frequently in the wholesale and retail sector along with accommodation and food services sector.  Commencement in roles was most frequent in occupations such as catering assistants, waiters, bar staff, sales such as retail sales assistants, and professionals such as IT roles, education and health;
  • During 2017, employers continued to source skills from outside the EEA. Approximately 9,400 new employment permits were issued in 2017;  a 22 per cent increase on the previous year with most new permits issued for those employed in IT and health;

Industry demand for certain skills was high, with vacancies identified across a range of occupations including IT, science, healthcare and construction. Minister McHugh said: "The National Skills Bulletin provides an essential source of information on the labour market in Ireland and the skills needs of the economy. I am pleased to note that in 2017 the numbers of people in employment continued to rise and many sectors of the economy saw growth with the strongest demand in construction, accommodation and food and education. 
"It is important that we reflect on the information in the National Skills Bulletin as we seek to build on the success of the Irish economy in recent years. By understanding the needs of the labour market we can identify new policies and actions necessary to ensure the best opportunities for our citizens. Despite the positive trends, the Bulletin identifies shortages across a breadth of occupations. It is evident is that there is no single action to take when addressing the shortages. An examination of the cause and the type of shortage will lead to varying interventions; whether it is attracting talent from abroad, or examining the current and future education and training provision."
Outlining the further education and training sector's response to the findings, Andrew Brownlee, Executive Director, SOLAS added: "By providing 300,000 further education and training places each year SOLAS is striving to meet the needs of learners, employers and communities. SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards have recently adopted a more strategic, multi-annual approach to planning and funding which will further enable the sector to respond to these findings. Taking into account the current labour market at both national and regional level, our strategic performance agreements with Education and Training Boards aim to deliver 30% more employment outcomes from FET programmes along with an increase of 10,000 qualifications in key skills areas annually. We will also continue to develop and roll out new models of apprenticeship and traineeships with targets for 31,000 and 13,900 registrations on these programmes between 2016-2020."
"Providing people with opportunities at all stages of their life to improve their skills or engage in higher or further education and training makes a real, tangible difference to individuals, businesses and communities. The 2018 National Skills Bulletin contains much information to help guide public policy and inform decision making in SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority and other Government Departments."

The full National Skills Bulletin 2018 is available here: Download National Skills Bulletin 2018 [PDF]
Contact: Maria Walshe, Communications Manager, SOLAS at 087-2074280