Skills mismatch highlighted once more as jobs news worsens

lab workThe Irish Examiner reported last week that finding a job in Ireland is more difficult than in almost any other eurozone country, and that the prognosis is not good, with Ireland named as one of only five countries where the work situation was expected to worsen.

The figures are from a European Commission initiative designed to monitor the demand for labour rather than just track unemployment. It is hoped that this will offer a new perspective to help policymakers on labour, education and training issues.

Figures showed the number of vacancies in Ireland from April to June last year was about 6,000, while the number of unemployed was about 300,000.

The important news from a graduate perspective is that once again the skills mismatch is highlighted. Across Europe there are a sizeable number of vacancies for professionals and managers – and the demand for employees with computer science and other technical IT and engineering skills is already well-documented – but the majority of people looking for work have low skillsets. Suitable jobs for these people are in short supply: new jobs in the construction industry, for example, have more or less disappeared.

Although this report does not distinguish graduates within the unemployed numbers, what it does show is that there has been an explosion in youth unemployment, accounting for 25 per cent of the total on average in the EU, and higher in some cases, eg over 51 per cent in Spain. So while employers and the economy are depending on young people to bring high-tech skills to the table, the reality is that the demand for those skills outweighs the supply. And, without these skills, many of our young people are facing only the prospect of short-term, temporary and poorly paid roles.

How can Irish graduates seek to prosper in this jobs market? One way is to consider retraining to meet the demands of the labour market.

The National Skills Bulletin published by FÁS provides an overview of current and anticipated skills shortages in Ireland. The list below provides a summary of some of the areas of shortage mentioned in the 2011 report that you may consider targeting for a potential career change.


  • Product development chemists
  • Biologists
  • Medical scientists
  • Nutritionists
  • Laboratory analysts at technician level.


  • Chemical (process safety)
  • Design and development (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food)
  • Electrical (power generation, high voltage)
  • Electronic (printed circuit board microchip)
  • Planning and quality control (standards compliance, validation)
  • Mechanical (renewable energy)
  • Production (process automation and Six Sigma).


  • Senior software applications developers (Java, C++, C#, VB, Ruby, Perl, Python)
  • Network and security experts (.net, SharePoint, encryption, cloud computing, virtualisation – VMware)
  • System administrators (Oracle, J2EE, SQL Server)
  • Web developers (PHP, JavaScript, XML, HTML, Flex, ColdFusion)
  • Business analysts IT project managers.


  • Risk analysis
  • Management and cost accounting
  • Compliance and regulatory standards – domestic, EU (eg MiFID, Solvency II)
  • Global (eg Basel II) and financial analysis
  • Financial experts with proficiency in financial software packages (eg SUMMIT and SAP).

Sales and Marketing

  • Experienced marketing managers
  • Technical sales representatives with specific industry, product and market knowledge
  • Multilingual telesales (particularly with German and Nordic languages).

Transport & Logistics

  • Multilingual international supply chain managers with forecasting, planning and scheduling skills.

Lastly it is worth researching conversion courses – the only Irish website with a bespoke conversion course search is

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