Better educated women 'will continue to flood the workforce'
Women are set to continue flooding into the workforce following a surge in the numbers in employment over the past two decades.
The ESRI has predicted that the number of women of working age in jobs is set to rise sharply over the next five years.
The think-tank says the increase was driven by women with a high standard of education, who were incentivised to stay in the workforce because they commanded bigger wages.The report also says there is likely to be a "positive productivity effect" on the economy as older women with "more limited education" retire and are replaced by women who had greater educational opportunities.
This comes after a period of rapid growth as the percentage of females aged from 20 to 64 in the labour force rose from less than half to almost three-quarters since the early 1990s.
In 1992, 48pc of women aged 20 to 64 were in the labour force. By 2007, this had risen to 67pc, and stood at 68pc last year.
It finds that female participation rates have stabilised since the beginning of the financial crisis, as women continued in education for longer.
However, it forecasts that the female "labour supply" is likely to expand even more over the next five years.
The report on recent trends in female labour force participation says the average educational achievement of women rose during the economic crisis and will continue to rise for at least the next decade. It said this would lead to greater numbers participating in the workforce, particularly women over 40.
"When combined with the rising adult population, this will see quite a rapid expansion in female labour supply over the next five years, increasing between 1.5pc and 2pc a year," said the report, by Maxime Brecholz and John FitzGerald.
It found women under 30 stayed longer in education during the crisis but this made planning the number of future third-level places difficult.