Ireland’s Skill Shortages: What Causes Them and How Your Company Can Solve the Problem

During and since the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland's business concerns have focused on skills shortages in the IT sector. Almost not a day goes past without some report or other in the papers about it. However, Ireland is experiencing skills shortages in many other sectors too - construction, hospitality, biotechnology and financial services, to name a few . What can Irish businesses do to address this issue? Where will you find your employees?

Employee Retention


Skills shortage is a complicated topic. There's no one reason why the shortage happens but there's a few that can be pointed to as culprits:

Genuine skill shortages

Genuine skill shortages happen when demand for a certain skill in the workplace exceeds the jobseekers with that skill. That's understandable enough. You need a Drupal developer, but everyone applying for the job only know WordPress. •

Skill shortages caused by recruitment and high staff turnovers

This is when there are plenty of individuals with the skills your company needs, but they choose not to work for you (or in your sector at all). Perhaps they're unhappy with pay rates, or working conditions, or even the office dynamic. Whatever the reason, the skilled people won't rush to work with you or your sector, creating a skills shortage. •

Labour Shortage

A labour shortage is when there's too much work for the workers available. This kind of shortage can happen across industries, sectors and even whole nations, affecting all jobs from skilled to unskilled. Low unemployment is this skill shortage's main cause


There are many reasons behind skills shortages. Things like sudden technological advances, emigration and an ageing population often spell them out. For example, there's a new machine and not enough people with the skills to use it. They have to learn. As another example, people with certain skills might all move to the same city in North America; the pay's better, the climate's great.


It makes sense that educated workers are skilled workers, but in this day and age education providers need to be quick to keep up with the changing technological climate. This can only be achieved if the education system and the business world work together. Countries like Switzerland and Germany have well-developed educational schemes that produce graduates who are job and business ready because business there has recognised its role in the future of the workforce.


The corporate world is changing rapidly with ICT advances. We are no longer in a world of starched white collars, no benefits or internal backstabbing.

  • Listen to your employees Immediately address any micro issues your staff have. It could be something as simple as the coffee machine being broken.
  • Be different Try new ways of finding new staff.
    Tips: When you are hiring, enlist the help of agencies 
  • Join us! We can give you access to an entirely new network of people by harness the collective talent pools of some of our 200+ recruitment agency members. 
    • Not on LinkedIn? Join it, check out groups for your expertise and get talking.
  • Review your standards Don't lower your standards: review them. Best doesn't mean what it used to. Do they really need straight A’s from their degree to their masters? Do they even need a degree? Perfect grades are nice but that doesn't mean they can communicate, that they're a good fit or that they have the vibe you need.

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