An Update on the Irish Labour Market

Peninsula Team

October 28 2011

As an update to last month’s article on the recent spate of redundancies in Ireland there has been a lot of media coverage on this topic in the past month. Further compounding the issue has been the official closure of Talk-Talk’s Waterford operations earlier this month with the loss of almost 580 jobs and the huge economic impact that has on the city and county of Waterford. In addition to the four and a half weeks pay per year of service the IDA have been working to up-skill those affected, and of the large number made redundant 20 have so far found alternative roles, though most are located outside of Waterford. Skillsnet, a state funded body, has also sought to become involved in this issue and has set aside €250,000 to retrain over 100 ex-Talk Talk staff. Also prominent in the media has been the talks between Aviva and the UNITE trade union further to the proposed restructuring plan, of which UNITE represents 1,200 of the 2,000 workers potentially affected.

Recently published figures by the CSO has seen that in the last Quarterly National Household Survey, the true indicator of the unemployment rate, the unemployment figure in Ireland is currently standing at 14.2%, an increase from last year’s figure of 13.6%, which will surely increase further once the figures have taken account of the closures of Talk-Talk, Anglo-Irish and Aviva over the coming weeks and months.

Also a particularly saddening statistic saw emigration figures continue to rise from 27,700 to 40,200 over the 12 months to April 2011. This was highlighted none more so than at the recent Rugby World Cup in New Zealand where the Irish support made up primarily from those people under the age of 25 who have had to relocate abroad in search of work. This diaspora have been forced to move abroad in search of employment and took this opportunity to exhibit their national pride and “Irishness”, whilst also showcasing a potential lost generation of Irish workers who may not return.

One could be forgiven for thinking it is all doom and gloom at the moment, however employers should not be put off as amidst the recent pessimism, there has been some very positive news in the labour market, with job creation and retention at the forefront of this optimism. A recently publicised Peninsula survey reports that the Irish Job Market is looking brighter as 74% of Irish Employers plan on creating jobs in the next 12 months compared to only 53% in 2010. It also found that less companies are making people redundant (34% in 2011) compared to 2010 (53%).

Alan Price, the Managing Director of Peninsula Ireland, commented that by no means are we being naive in saying that the economic crisis is over or that we are experiencing a boom, we are simply passing on the positive statements being made by the companies we talk to. Plans to recruit new staff over the next 12 months is excellent news, job creation is pivotal at the moment and we only hope that companies can carry through with their plans. It is also a good sign that fewer redundancies are being made. Slowly we can possibly see that the tide is turning in the job market.

Coupled with the Peninsula survey we have seen reports of a number of high profile job announcements over the course of the last three weeks with JRI America announcing 100 new jobs in the Kerry Region, EFG Inflight Catering creating 50 new jobs in Clare, Debenhams will look to recruit 680 temporary workers to cover the Christmas period over their 11 branches, GameStop is looking to do likewise and is recruiting 140 workers across its 55 stores, Allianz is seeking candidates to fill 130 new roles created in Dublin and Etihad is announcing 100 new jobs over Ireland.

This is very positive news, even if a number of the roles are for seasonal workers as it creates the possibility of people retaining these roles after the Christmas period has ended, and taking them off the live register. This is important as although the live register is not designed to record unemployment (as it takes account of those working part time hours) it is a barometer for the nation for economic recovery, and recent live register figures have also reflected this trend of renewed optimism where there has been a decrease in the number of people signing in the live register in September 2011, and this decrease (-0.2%) represents the first annual decrease on the Live Register since April 2007.


Employers should note that there is also good news for those have been let go from the severely hit construction industry with the government being offered up to €35 million from the European Commission to help almost 6,000 construction workers regain employment. The money will be used to create a package that will provide workers with occupational guidance, training programmes, enterprise/self-employment supports, training allowances and income supports. The total cost of the package is estimated to be €55 million, of which the EU has been asked to provide assistance of €35.7 million.

These positive shoots do indicate there is some growth being experienced in the economy, we are by no means out of the woods or in a new “Celtic tiger”, but there are still reasons to be positive even with all the despair being reported by the media. 

Employers should seek advice from Peninsula Business Services when faced with any query in respect of redundancies and the correct procedures to follow. Please phone the 24 Hour Advice Service on 01 8555050 and one of our experienced advisors will be happy to assist.

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