Wednesday 21 August 2019

Quality of life now the key to attracting workers

Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Ged Nash
Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Ged Nash

Fionnán Sheahan

Quality of life will be a key factor in attracting skilled workers and creating jobs in the next decade, according to a new government plan.

The ability to move between specialist jobs within the same region will be vital to keeping workers.

But regions will have to work to attract both investment and personnel.

The Coalition will today set out its plan to have the highest number of people in employment in the history of the State.

It aims to have 2.18 million people in work by 2020 - an increase of more than 200,000.

It will also target sustainable employment based on an export-driven economy, not relying on boom and bust areas such as construction.

The plan will aim to have balanced regional development, with each region having an unemployment rate within 1pc of the national average.

It will also focus on creating "clusters" of firms that work in the same type of industry, such as technology, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and medical devices.

Regions will be pitted against each other to make the most attractive offering to companies and their workers.

Enterprise 2025 will be launched by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton today.

The report identifies "talent" - training, attracting and keeping skilled workers - as the key to creating jobs.

In his foreword, Mr Bruton points to the need for regions to be attractive places to create employment, but also to live.

"We need also to invest in place-making throughout Ireland, in all regions, creating attractive places where businesses choose to invest and where people choose to live and work. Our Regional Action Plans for Jobs will be a key driver of this concept," he says in the report.

The ability of skilled workers to move to different countries or different parts of the country means regions will have to be attractive in terms of housing, leisure amenities, schools and continuing education opportunities, specifically targeted at their sector.

"Talent is number one. Access to skilled labour is key. Attracting the right talent to an area is going to be about the totality of your offer. We have got to create the right conditions where people feel they can move to a region and build a career," a government source said.

A €40m fund will be set aside for regions to compete for to spend on enterprise and jobs facilities.

Local councils will have to join together and coordinate their efforts with state agencies and colleges in their region to get the funding.

Mr Bruton sets out the importance of clusters of firms being located in an area.

"Building genuine clusters is a key theme of this strategy, leveraging our distinctive foreign and Irish-owned enterprise base to build impactful clusters of scale and international visibility in areas of strength," he says.

"We will ensure our financing environment for enterprises is recognised as among the most competitive internationally and we will ensure that our tax environment is transparent and competitive and provides the certainty enterprises need."

The goal of the plan is to make Ireland "the best place to succeed in business delivering sustainable employment and higher standards of living".

The plan says successful enterprises will be competitive, productive and globally connected.

Irish Independent

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