| 5.3°C Dublin

Welcome to a new Ireland, where women are holding on to their jobs better than men

THE gender gap in the workforce has narrowed to its lowest level in more than eight decades.

Census results revealed the number of people unemployed has more than doubled in the past five years -- with men accounting for 70pc of the increase.

The numbers unemployed stood at almost 425,000 in April 2011, depicting a startling rise of 137pc -- or 245,000 people -- out of work since the last census was carried out in 2006.

The latest report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) 'This is Ireland -- Highlights from Census 2011: Part Two' paints a picture of the number of people in work, education levels and skillset within the State.

It revealed there were now a little more than 852,000 women at work compared with 954,000 men -- with the number of women in paid employment rising strongly since 1981.

Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician with the CSO, said: "What we have seen is the overall number of workers has fallen by 123,000 in the five-year period, but within that the number of women at work has increased by 30,000 whereas the number of men at work has fallen by 153,000.

The number of men out of work rose to more than 274,000 from 106,000 -- a rise of 157pc. The number of women who lost their jobs stood at 150,500, up from 72,800 in 2006.

Over the five-year period the downturn had impacted heavily on the construction and manufacturing sectors, which were heavily dominated by male employment.

The construction sector has suffered a drop from 170,000 to 75,000 -- a fall of 55pc. Almost 99pc of the workers were male. Agriculture showed its first gain since 1926, with an extra 5,000 working in the sector.

"Those sectors dominated by female employment, such as education, health and public administration as well, have all seen increases in employment over the five-year period," Ms Cullen said.

Limerick city topped the list of unemployment black spots in the country -- with areas where more than half of adults are unemployed.

Census results revealed that 42 out of the 81 black spots in the country were in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford cities.

Limerick city accounted for seven out of the 10 electoral divisions with the highest unemployment rates in the State when people sat down to fill out the census, in April 2011.

The figures revealed that Limerick city had the highest unemployment rate at 28.6pc; in comparison, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown in south Dublin had the lowest at 11.2pc.

Among the cities, Waterford city and suburbs had the highest unemployment rate of 24.6pc, while Dublin city and suburbs had the lowest at 17.4pc.

Among the large towns, Enniscorthy in Co Wexford had the highest unemployment rate at 31.7pc, while the lowest was in Malahide, north Dublin, at 9.7pc.


The CSO said a different method of calculating the unemployment rate had been used to deliver the figure of 19pc detailed in this report.

In comparison, the official state unemployment rate of 14.3pc is based on the International Labour Office definition of being available for work, and is only a sample of the population.

Brid O'Brien, of the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed, said: "A lot of the jobs we've lost are good jobs; a lot of the jobs coming on stream are low-paid and precarious. This throws up lots of issues."

The results found the unemployment rate for people who had only a primary school education was 33pc -- compared with a rate of 8pc for those with a third-level qualification.

Ms O'Brien said the report showed starkly the "impact of education" on people's employment status.

Irish Independent