Jobs in Ireland
Da Grate Recession
Jobs are few and far between in 2010. Even those with high end skills (medical, engineering, programming, etc.) are finding it hard to get jobs. Very few firms are hiring new people since they're concentrating on keeping hold of the folks currently employed. Many firms have cut employee hours to survive and bringing workers back to a full employment schedule will be first priority.
All government departments have a hiring freeze in place. This includes the health service. Plans are afoot to combine government offices and shed further jobs.
Nearly half a million workers are unemployed and on the dole. New college graduates are emigrating in droves. In the next few years an estimated 200,000 people will emigrate out of Ireland.
Nonetheless, there is a wee bit of hiring going on. You might have the exact skill set for which an employer is looking. Or, perhaps you've got a world class patter of b.s. Either way, don't give up hope yet. Check some of the recruitment sites listed here.
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs is the official group set up to advise the government on employment trends in Ireland. The group's reports are probably the best available source examining future employment needs and trends. In their own words: "The EGFSN carries out studies into the supply and demand for skills in individual business/industrial sectors and occupations..."
Check them out if you want the best available overall insight into the Irish job market.
Of course, just because the experts identify a need doesn't mean you're sure to get a job. But, their frequent reports give an overview - industry by industry - of what's happening.
Of particular interest in their July 2010 report is the following:
"In 2009, 3,633 new employmenet permits were issued to non-EEA nationals. This is a reduction of almost 60% compared to 2008. Occupations most frequently sourced through the employment permit schemes included nurses, software engineers, computer programmers/analysts, marketing managers, accountants, medical practitioners, chefs, care assistants and managers in manufacturing and ICT."
A bit further on, the report says:
" Given the sharp rise in unemployment, there is an excess supply of labour in Ireland at present. As a result, no labour shortages have been identified. In addition, the incidence of skills shortages is very low.
The skill shortages identified in this report relate to a small number of posts and are confined to:
- specialists within an occupation (e.g. electrical engineers with an expertise in high voltage grids)
- senior positions (e.g. senior software developer)
- niche areas (e.g. telesales with Nordic languages)
- a specific skill mix (e.g. ICT and business)"
The report then goes on at length to examine precisely what's needed in different industries. More important from a job-seekers point of view, is what jobs are being advertised. For these, see the recruitment sites listed here.
What's particularly interesting is that the exact same job skills most in demand in 2010 are that same ones in demand back in 2005. If you have the patience to read through these summaries down to that point, you'll be struck by how little has changed in the jobs market.
High end skills and experience! That's what employers want.
Also of note is that Dublin, despite shedding more jobs than anywhere else in the country, still has the lowest unemployment rate (just under 11%). The South-East is the worst (nearly 16%) followed by the Midlands and Midwest.
Manpower.ie is one of the largest Irish recruitment firms. They produce a quarterly survey of the Irish labour market. Their methods are straight-forward. Manpower contacts hundreds of employers and asks them if they expect to be hiring in the next few months. Sector reports are also included. Basically, this is a snap-shot of the Irish employment market and useful for an overview of the jobs market.
They report in 2010 that most employers (85%) will be holding employment steady, but the number who anticipate they will have to let people go exceeds the number who will be hiring. So, it will be steady as she goes - continuing right down the toilet.
Whatever happens, there are some dependable fields that will be first to recover or that need someone to replace key retiring personnel. Over the years, employment reports usually cite the following:
Electrical, electronic, design and production engineers, computer analysts and programmers, and a wide range of healthcare professionals including medical practitioners, nurses and radiographers. Examples of occupations often experiencing labour shortages include financial clerks and credit controllers as well as occupations in the horticulture sector.
Despite the obvious signs of a downward spiral that anyone could see, the government was caught totally by surprise when Ireland's economy fell off a cliff in September 2008.
The point is that these guys were and remain the worst managers in the industrial world, unable to see what was in plain sight. These same eejits are the ones guiding the "recovery" which has saddled the Irish with tens of billions in debt in order to bail out hedge fund investors and banksters. Pitiful.
There's no real hope for a renaissance until we finally get rid of this crowd at the next elections which will probably be in 2011.
Dom jest tam gdzie jest serce
Hundreds of thousands of East Europeans flocked to Ireland during the boom years 2004 - 2007. The question always was how many would stick around if the going got tough.
Now we know. Two thirds of East Europeans returned home when Ireland tanked, but hundreds of thousands remain. Home is where the heart is, we immigrants find. Or, to say it in Polish: "Dom jest tam gdzie jest serce."
Here's one subscriber's experience:
"Okay this is what I learned. An irish interview is centered completely around yourself and what experiences you have had. There was no question and answer session. It was lets go through your CV and tell me about A,B,C. I haven't had a job interview in almost 2 years and never one like this before. I suggest that if anyone isn't used to selling themselves and their skills that they practice because if I had known what to do I probably would have done a lot better."...K.
"I don't know about work style for men, but office style for women is far more formal here than in the U.S. - except in the biggest of American cities. Perhaps naively, I expected that in a rural area like North Kerry, office wear would be covered by a basic outfit of trousers or skirt and a simple blouse. Not so! Suits seem to be de rigeur in most places, and I was woefully unprepared. Luckily, women's suits tend to be much cheaper than men's. And there's always Ebay if you're not in a hurry. While talking to a sales clerk, she mentioned that when she moved here from London, she too was surprised at the level of fashion in Ireland. She told me Irish women dress better than women in London." (Sarah)
How do those not working get by? There's a
safety net of social welfare schemes, housing grants, medical benefits and
the like which keep body and soul together. A single unemployed person gets
as little as €108 a week so few people desire the unemployed life.
If you're moving to Ireland and worry about having to avail of these services,
you can get more information at the Department
of Social and Family Affairs.
The summary is that new residents must be here for two years before they qualify for most social welfare supports.
EU/EEA Citizens: However, social welfare recipients from the EU may frequently transfer their homes without much of an interruption in benefits. But, you must get the proper paperwork filled out in your home country BEFORE moving to Ireland. For a much more detailed discussion, click here.
For a look at the government's principal
statistics, go to the Central Statistics Office site.
Job discrimination on the basis of age is illegal.
But, like most Irish laws, what's on the books bears little relation to reality.
I moved to Ireland at the ripe old age of 41 and found myself essentially
unemployable because I was totally over the hill. Employers are still fixated
on twenty somethings and, though the situation has improved, anecdotal
evidence suggests age bias is still very much the norm.
There is a definite age bias against hiring
anyone past their twenties for any lower level positions in many different
fields. I applied all over the place a few years ago as a prospective trainer-educator
in computers and it all got nowhere despite many glowing recommendations and
a professional career in education in the States. Generally, those jobs went
to younger people, at least in two cases that I'm aware of. (And I've been
told that I come over very well indeed in interviews, so I don't think it's
In short, if you're in your forties or fifties
and not highly qualified as an engineer, technician, doctor, nurse, architecht,
programmer, or the like, getting a job in your chosen field can be tough -
Celtic Tiger or Great Recession. It got better when labor shortages intensified, but
those days are gone. But I
wouldn't want to paint an overly rosy picture for you. In my own case, I had
to start my own company 15 years ago because I could not get a job in Waterford
County in the IT field.
A few years the figures were that 74% of men aged 55-59
were working and 53% among those aged 60 to 64. Mostly this last figure does
not represent age discrimination but early retirement. Only 35% of women between
the ages of 55 and 59 were working and this fell to 19% between the ages of
60 and 64. Again, this last figure is probably a measure of past discriminations
and current blessings, rather than current fruitless job searches.
The minimum wage is €7.65
Euro per working hour as of 1st February 2011. The hugely cushioned fatcat politicians of Fianna Fail refused to consider reducing their bloated pensions and barely touched their enormous salaries as Ireland spiraled down the hole. But they felt it was important for national competitiveness to knock a euro per hour off the lowest paid workers in Ireland.
A full explanation of minimum wage rates and rules concerning overtime and the like can be found here at the government's citizen's information site.
You can check for yourself on the Department of Trade and Employment's website pages about Employment Rights. There's more stuff
here than your boss wants you to know.
The Employment Black Market
There's low paid work currently available in
pubs and restaurants, on construction sites, and on the land. You may well find an employer
who is willing to pay you cash in hand without a bother about the red tape
and rules and regulations. Particularly if you're coming for a few weeks to
test the waters, you might possibly find a job. I will note that this is increasingly
unlikely because the fines for employers of illegal immigrants are substantial. And, of course, the fact that plenty of EU/EEA jobseekers are competing for every such job.
The drawback, of course, is that you have no
legal status. While you may avail of the public Health
Care, there is always the prospect of being found out and booted out of
the country. If you're young, single, and care-free you might just chance
it. But, if you're booted out and ever want to come back legally, this big
black mark on your records will stand against you.
I did chance it more than twenty odd years
ago when I didn't have a bull's notion of visas, work permits, and the like.
I didn't set out to do anything wrong, just to visit a friend in the Construction
business. He offered me a job, and I stayed on and met an Irish colleen and
stayed some more. Eventually, the lack of prospects for a better job (no work
permit! no visa!) saw me climbing onto an airplane bound back for the States.
If I had stayed on for five years I could have eventually applied for citizenship.
(See the Citizenship page for the naturalisation
rules.) To my great good fortune, I eventually married that Irish colleen
and returned to Ireland many years later as a citizen.
all worked out for me. But, if you're trawling the internet for information
about moving to Ireland, I assume you're reasonably methodical. You don't
want to end up in some dead end job. There have been serious new laws regarding
illegal immigration. The carefree attitude of earlier days is gone.
On the other hand, just showing up and acting
the tourist may not get you work, but generally you'll be left alone. And there are jobs. I've heard of people who have gotten cash jobs as waiters and waitresses and farms, and as au pairs. Such jobs in construction are mostly nonexistant these days.
are no raids (yet!) by border officials, and if you're a reasonable sort of
person who doesn't spend a good deal of the day sitting around town squares
drinking whiskey and begging from passersby then you'll be welcome here. But,
the time will likely come when you want a real job and then you'll be ensnared
in the red tape and probably have to depart the country while the situation
However, the papers carry almost weekly stories of people denied promised monies, who have been exploited, degraded and humiliated. The story that sticks in my memory is an Indonesian girl whose family lost everything in the tsunami. She came, legally, to Ireland as an au pair. The family who hired her, however, treated her with contempt. The father would throw food at her and taught the kids to do the same. She was taunted and belittled, treated like a slave.
I am ashamed to share this planet with such contemptible subhumans, but the stories aren't just one-offs. Ireland, apparently, has a fair share of such bastards. (And yes, this is one time the use of such language is justified.)
My advice: visit for 90 days and enjoy the
country. You might try and find work and get a work permit. If you can, immediately
bug and beg your new boss to apply for a work permit. Hand him or her the
work permit form and double check to make sure it got sent off. Better yet,
offer to send it registered mail at your own expense to make sure it gets
off. But, as someone who's been there and done that, I would advise against
taking the deadend path of becoming an illegal immigrant.
Work Permits & Leaving the Country
Under the current work
permit rules, you'll have to leave the country and then re-enter with the
work permit in hand. You usually can't just stay on and extend a visit into a work
For lots more discussion
about residence permits and the like for non-EU citizens, click
Of course, there's lots more in the Full Site.