• 5.5




Key drivers

Overall Wage Pressure (3.6)

Real wage growth is forecast to be much lower this year, which is consistent with less pressure in the labour market.

Education Flexibility (3.1)

A slight fall in the number of graduates as a share of the population has decreased the proportion of skilled workers available.

Wage Pressure in High-Skill Occupations (7.8)

The wage gap between high-skill and low-skill occupations has closed slightly, although this Indicator remains the highest across all 34 markets featured in the report.


Education Flexibility


Labour Market Participation


Labour Market Flexibility


Talent Mismatch


Overall Wage Pressure


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Industries


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Occupation


View from the Ground

The Irish economy, on balance, is in a strong position, supported by low unemployment and sustained business investment from indigenous and multinational companies. In the high-tech and finance industries the demand for skills like cybersecurity analysis, remains high. While in the construction industry, quantity surveyors are extremely sought after. This trend is being sustained by a tight labour market and an under-supply of talent, and the longer this continues the more wage pressure will increase. Organisations need to start investing in employee upskilling and reskilling programmes now, which will allow them to plug skills deficits in the short to medium term in a cost-effective way. In addition, employers are continuing to seek talent from outside of Ireland which will become even more important during a sustained period of economic uncertainty.

Mike McDonagh, Managing Director, Hays Ireland

Key Skills in Demand

  • Cyber Security Analysts
  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Tax Managers
  • Procurement Managers
  • Data Scientists

Market Insight

Ireland posted rapid economic growth figures of nearly 8% in 2018, following an even stronger performance of 7.2% the previous year. Although these headline figures are distorted by foreign multinational enterprises’ activity, underlying domestic demand is relatively buoyant, although there were signs of cooling towards the end of the year and into 2019.

A large discrepancy exists between the wages and productivity levels of those working for multinational firms relative to those in domestic enterprises, with the potential to widen existing labour market inequalities. In addition, the female participation rate remains considerably below the EU average (the rate was 56% in 2018 relative to 68% for the EU), despite a greater proportion of women holding third-level qualifications compared to men.

Over the longer term, the economy’s ability to expand is forecast to be supported by a strong increase in the size of the working-age population due to natural increases and inward and return migration.