In our recent blog, Ireland – A Good Place To Do Business, we looked at some of the reasons which have lead to Ireland attracting a significant level of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In this, our first blog in a series of blogs covering this topic, we will look at how Ireland’s skilled workforce contributes to our attractiveness for FDI.
1. Ireland’s workforce ranking
Ireland has always been regarded as a centre of excellence for education and remains within the top 20 countries for education in the Universitas 21 Ranking 2014. More importantly, Ireland ranked 1st in the world for availability of skilled labour in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014.
Such rankings were further substantiated by Manpower’s 2014 Talent shortage survey in which Ireland received the lowest ranking of just 2% for employers having difficulty in filling position. This is a very strong position to hold, given the global average of 36%.
In past years, Ireland suffered during the Euro Zone recession, which resulted in a considerable number of our skilled labour force emigrating. Despite this, companies were still in a position to source strong, talented candidates to fill positions available. At present there are over 1,000 multinational companies (MNC’s) within Ireland and they currently employ over 150,000 of our 1.9 million strong workforce.
2. Ireland’s Demographics
Ireland’s demographics are also very encouraging when attracting FDI. With over 50% of our population under the age of 35, the level of our older population dependent on state assistance is amongst the most favourable in Europe. Ireland has a workforce which is capable, highly adaptable, mobile and committed to achievement. With a projected increase in our population by 2021 of 1.4%, the future of Ireland’s skilled workforce remains strong.
While there was negative movement in Ireland’s unemployment levels during the recessionary periods, there is clear evidence that Ireland is now experiencing a strong recovery as our unemployment levels have fallen for the past 3 years and were as low as 10% in March 2015.
3. Ireland’s Education System
Ireland’s ability to produce a skilled workforce stems from our long history of education. The Irish Government has always invested in our education system and looks to offer both relevant and varied courses, taking into account both the national and international markets and industry requirements. Universities and colleges in Ireland also ensure to provide students with courses which allows their students to develop the skills and talents necessary to peruse careers which drive the growth of Ireland’s economy.
In 2013 alone, over 250,000 students enrolled in third level courses across universities and colleges. In studies conducted by OECD our education system ranked 9th in the work with their Better Life Survey indicating that 73% of adults in Ireland, aged between 25-64 years of age, have earned the equivalent of a high school degree.
Such a strong focus has resulted in Ireland securing a reputation as a highly attractive location for FDI, with a significant number of Irish educated individuals holding some of the more senior and experienced roles in many of the multinational companies located in Ireland.
4. Developing, Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
It was noted in IMD’s World Talent Report 2014, that Ireland ranked 6th in the world for its ability to develop, attract and retain talent. Such a high ranking assists Ireland in sustaining the talent pool available for enterprises operating in our economy.
When conducting the above report there are three main factors which are taken into consideration:
Investment and Development – This aspect takes into consideration the investment in and development of home grown talent. It reviews areas such as public investment, quality of education, pupil teacher ratios and the implementation of apprenticeships and priority of employee training for companies.
Appeal – The factors taken into consideration under appeal include a countries cost of living and quality of life, along with ability of a country to attract and retain talent. It also considers the level of worker motivation.
Readiness – Under this heading, the report looks at the growth of the labour force, the quality of skills available and the experience and competencies of existing senior managers. It also reviews the ability of the education system to meet the talent demands of enterprises operating within the country.
Under the above report Ireland has ranked within the top 10 of the following categories:
- skilled labour readily available
- financial skills
- competent senior managers
- worker motivation
- fit between education system and the needs of the competitive economy
- international experience of senior managers
- university education
The future of Ireland’s Skilled Workforce
In addition to the skills of our workforce, Ireland is also one of the only two English speaking countries in the Euro Zone. This is an important factor for many of the MNC’s and other businesses when looking to invest in Europe, as it avoids translation difficulties which are present in other countries which may be considered.
As part of the development of Irelands education, our Government has ensured that the curriculum of both our schools and colleges include a number of languages to be studied, which again prepares our workforce to progress in a global economy. In general the natural culture and attitude of the Irish workforce has always been regarded as highly committed, dedicated and invested in the growth of business in conjunction with employers.
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