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looking ahead

These are the jobs with the brightest futures in Ireland right now

But there are also skills that can help you in almost any career.

WHILE THE RECESSION wreaked havoc across Ireland’s workforce, some jobs have bounced back far better than the rest.

From niche careers like butchers and de-boners to broad categories like engineers, many are defying a jobless rate still hovering at just under 10%.

And as the country’s export industries begin to fire again and tech companies continue to soak up any the available talent, some sectors are already feeling the pinch of skills shortages.

According to the latest skills report produced by Solas for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, there were problems in getting good workers in industries from the ICT sector to transport and logistics.

The group’s chair, Una Halligan, told that as the economy picked up, the gap between industry needs and the skills available was becoming bigger in several fields – particularly those linked to major export sectors.

Employers are looking for people with the abilities to trade internationally – and the big issue there is a lack of foreign-language skills,” she said.

European languages like German and French were in high demand, but there was also an appetite for languages such as Chinese to smooth access to emerging markets.

German flag Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Everyone needs IT

Halligan also said the need for IT abilities was being felt in almost all industries, with experience in fields like data analysis and online security in demand everywhere from retailers to shipping companies.

Meanwhile with a boom in the number of visiting tourists, the hospitality sector was also starting experience shortfalls for skilled trades like chefs.

The positive thing about that industry is that the jobs are across the board – even in regions where they have difficulty encouraging manufacturing or industry,” Halligan said.

These are three of the careers which, according to the report, have some of the brightest futures on the current trends:


1. Engineers

Engineer UCD engineering students Myles Butler and Niall Henry Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Yearly jobs growth (average, 2009-14): 6.5%

Unemployment rate (end-2014): 5.1%

Between 2009 and 2014, the rate of jobs growth for engineers was the highest of any broad employment category as the sector added about 6,000 extra workers. Meanwhile unemployment sits at about half the national average.

The growth has come as part of a shift towards high-end manufacturing and design jobs in the country, as low-skilled work has been increasingly sent to eastern Europe and Asia.

2. IT professionals

Zoo Dublin's Career Zoo last September Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Yearly jobs growth: 4.1%

Unemployment rate: 3%

Another fast-growing category, the number of IT jobs in Ireland has gone up faster than most other sectors, while the jobless rate is below that considered to represent full employment.

Those in IT and communications jobs are also the workers who, on average, have enjoyed the biggest increase in earnings over the past four years.

Pay in the sector has gone up 15% over the past four years at the same time that average earnings across the board have stayed flat.

3. Scientists and lab technicians

Mater Inside the Mater Hospital, where a new technology centre was launched in May Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Yearly jobs growth: 0.3%

Unemployment rate: 5%

While a relatively small cohort of the total workforce, natural scientists and lab technicians are crucial to some of Ireland’s biggest export sectors like pharmaceuticals, medical technology and food processing.

These industries were expected to do well in the medium term and a general push towards high-value activity was predicted to further drive up the need for science skills.

For a full list of the jobs and skills in shortage click here to read the report.

This month, as part of’s ongoing startup and small and medium enterprise (SME) focus, we are looking at recruitment and building your career.

To view other stories from our collection, click here.

READ: We finally have a timeline for when all Ireland will get decent broadband >

READ: Here’s what is being done to lure ‘the next Facebook’ to Ireland >

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