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Market still suffering skills shortage despite joblessness

THE Irish jobs market is still suffering from skill shortages in some areas, despite the highest unemployment rates in more than a decade, the National Skills Bulletin said in a report yesterday.

Most vacancies are in areas that traditionally have a high turnover, such as clerical work, sales and the service sector, but there are also vacancies in high-paying jobs such as computers, engineering, healthcare, finance and customer care, the bulletin says.

And employers tended to be looking for third-level education, experience and languages.

Typical titles for jobs where skills are in short supply include senior software developers; network engineers; project managers; product developers in pharmaceuticals; doctors; multilingual telesales; international supply chain managers; medical scientists; and financial risk and regulatory experts.

As the collapse in the employment market slows, the number of vacancies across the country is rising, the report also shows. Vacancies in the first quarter of this year were higher than in the same period last year.

"It has never been so critical to provide information on the employment trends and the areas of current and future skills demand," said Training and Skills Minister Ciaran Cannon at the launch of the report. "While it is hard to reconcile high unemployment with skills shortages, it is critical that we maintain our focus on ensuring that our labour force is equipped with the skills for current and future jobs."

The number of work permits issued to workers from outside the European Union also rose last year, the report said.

Turning to unemployment, the bulletin found that those at greatest risk of being jobless included the under-25s, early school leavers, foreigners, those living in the south east and construction workers.

Unemployment increased in all regions last year, with the unemployment rate remaining highest in the south east (18.1pc) and lowest in Dublin and the mid-east (12.7pc).

The report found that 20pc of men earned more than €732 per week last year, compared with 14pc of women. Some 28pc of graduates earned above this level, compared with 10pc of non-graduates.

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