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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.1 General context

On this page
  1. Labour market situation in the country
  2. Main concepts

Labour market situation in the country

During 2020 Ireland began to experience a downturn in the economy, because of Covid-19 and the resulting health and safety measures. According to the European Commission’s Summer 2020 Economic Forecast, Ireland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is set to shrink by -8.5% during 2020.

Amongst 15- to 24-year-old there was a seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate of 18.9% for September 2020 (Central Statistics Office, 2020). The Covid-19 Adjusted Monthly Unemployment Estimates by Upper Bound was 36.5%. This figure includes those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payments and assumes that those receiving this payment would otherwise be on the live register (i.e. this is the ‘Upper Bound’ figure).

Youth unemployment and long term youth unemployment are discussed further in Chapter 3.11 Current debates and reform.


Main concepts

According to a Nevin Economic Research Institute Report (2014), there are two prominent features of the Irish labour market. These are the high proportion of people in employment with a third level degree and the low level of labour market participation for women aged 35 and over, in particular such women without a third level education. 


Irish workers are more likely to be employed as ‘professionals’ or in sales and service occupations than their European counterparts. Irish employment is concentrated in the service sector, in both relatively high paying export orientated services, and relatively low paying services more geared to the domestic economy.


Another feature of the Irish economy is that Ireland has become a global technology hub for many ICT companies. Many of the top global software companies, technical companies and IT services companies are based in Ireland. For example, Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Twitter are all based in Ireland. 


IDA Ireland states that Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. The sector accounts for more than €50 billion of exports from Ireland per annum.