Firms still importing hundreds of skilled workers
Hundreds of well paid jobs went to workers from abroad last year because employers cannot find people with the right skills, despite the lengthening dole queues.
Employers say there is a shortage of qualified workers to fill vacancies across a range of business sectors -- some with starting salaries of between €40,000 and €70,000 a year.
Last year, hundreds of employment permits were issued, including almost 500 to software engineers and computer programmers from outside the European Economic Area.
And, despite the recession, jobs continue to arise, with an increase recorded in the first quarter of 2011 compared with 2010.
These are among the findings of a report from the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs, which advises the Government on job trends and skills needs.
Third-level education, experience and languages are the most frequently mentioned requirements from prospective employers, according to the report.
Jobs requiring high levels of skills in engineering, information and communications technology (ICT), healthcare, finance and customer care are among those proving difficult to fill.
Doctors, medical scientists, senior software developers, network engineers and financial risk experts are among those in demand.
However, most of the hard-to-fill vacancies are concentrated in clerical, telesales and service occupations, where there is a high turnover of staff.
Although down from the 2007 peak, hundreds of highly skilled workers continue to be recruited from abroad to fill positions, primarily in the ICT and healthcare sectors, including nurses and care assistants.
First Derivatives, one of the country's fastest-growing companies, is among the employers having difficulty finding the right people.
Its head of business development Fearghal McGovern said it struggles to find people with the relevant skills, combining computer programming and investment banking experience.
The report found that those most at risk of unemployment are males, under-25s, early school-leavers, non-Irish nationals, south-east region residents and construction workers.