Ireland returned to positive GDP growth in 2011, and the economy continues to gain momentum. The largest employment sectors are wholesale and retail sales activities, followed by health/welfare and industry. As Ireland’s vocational education and training (VET) system was strongly linked to the construction sector, the decline in construction activity after 2008 has meant that participation in VET in Ireland has also declined sharply.
Looking to the future, employment levels are projected to reach their pre-2008 financial crisis levels by 2023. Most employment growth is expected to be in construction, and most job opportunities will be for professionals. In the period to 2025, Ireland is set to experience an increase in demand for workers across the board, with the most significant increase expected for high- and low-skilled workers. Meanwhile, the share of Ireland’s labour force with high level qualifications is projected to increase, whilst the share of workers with low level and, to a lesser extent, medium level qualifications will decrease in the same period.
Ireland’s working-age population (15-64) is projected to grow in the period to 2025, with labour market participation declining. Looking to the longer-term future, Ireland is expected to have amongst the lowest old-age dependency ratios in the EU.