While Ireland’s overall economic outlook is positive, a growing skills gap remains a critical issue for many industries, like tech and construction, according to a new report by recruiting experts, Hays.

The annual Hays Global Skills Index analyses professional employment markets in 33 major global economies.

This year, Ireland’s overall score has increased from 5.7 in 2015 to 6.3 in 2016. The score is calculated by weighting seven metrics, including education flexibility, labour market participation and wage pressure.

A score of 5.0 suggests firms are able to recruit, retain or replace their key talent at generally prevailing wage rates. A score close to 0 indicates intense competition for key vacancies, while a score close to 10 indicates severe difficulty in finding the right skills to fill key vacancies.

Irish economic growth is continuing steadily, while the unemployment rate sits at 7.8%, down from 9.4% last year; long-term unemployment is at 3.9% compared to 5.6% in 2015.

Businesses are generally confident in the Irish economy, despite national political concerns caused by an unstable Dáil and external factors like Brexit. Decision-makers are investing in growing their teams and expanding operations.

However, talent mismatch remains a significant issue. Skills shortages are especially prevalent in IT, construction and life sciences. Businesses are struggling to find the right people for key positions, particularly in highly skilled fields. As a result, many must look abroad to fill these gaps.

Commenting on the publication of the Hays Global Skills Index, Richard Eardley, Managing Director of Hays Ireland, said:

“Overall, the Irish jobs market is buoyant and the trend of recovery is continuing. Backed by investment from both foreign multinationals and indigenous firms, falling unemployment, relatively stable political conditions and a Government friendly to business, the economic outlook for 2016 and 2017 is positive.

“However, our ongoing skills shortage is a problem and many international and highly skilled industries, like IT and construction, are bearing the brunt of this. Thankfully, the Government is taking proactive steps to solve this problem. The recently announced Action Plan for Education is very encouraging, particularly in terms of the new subjects planned for introduction to primary and secondary curricula, like computer science and Mandarin.

“Industry and the Government must move beyond strategies focused on addressing the economic shocks of recent years, to actively pursuing more aggressive measures to attract high-skill Irish and overseas workers back into Ireland.”

For further information about the Hays Global Skills Index visit www.hays-index.com/ireland

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