Tuesday 17 September 2019

New record number of women are now part of workforce

There were 78,000 more women engaged in both full- and part-time work in 2018 than in 2014. Stock photo
There were 78,000 more women engaged in both full- and part-time work in 2018 than in 2014. Stock photo

Allison Bray

A record number of women were in the workforce last year, according to the latest Eurostat figures.

There were 78,000 more women engaged in both full- and part-time work in 2018 than in 2014.

Overall, 804,700 women aged between 25 and 54 were employed, representing just over 77pc of the female population in that age category last year, compared to 72.5pc of women in the workforce in 2009.

While more women are working here than ever before, we still lag behind our European counterparts, where more than 80pc of women in the EU are employed outside the home.

However, the employers' group Ibec welcomed the new figures.

"Female labour force participation has been a key driver of economic growth historically, with almost a quarter of Ireland's GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the 1990s attributed to a rise in female economic participation," said Ibec senior executive Kara McGann.

"Given the shortages of skills in certain sectors, the latest data from Eurostat is positive."

However, she said more needs to be done to encourage and support women either entering or returning to the workforce.

"We can't afford to be complacent as we still lag behind our EU counterparts as the fifth lowest country for the proportion of women at work.

"It is essential that we continue to focus on reducing the structural and policy issues that work against women joining or remaining in the labour market," she added.

They include exorbitant childcare costs, especially for women with several children. Ibec would also like to see programmes to help women return to work as well as more flexible working arrangements.

Irish Independent

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