Ireland one of the toughest countries in Europe to get a job

Report reveals that many have little option but to take part-time or temporary roles

The economy may be back on track and employment rising but Ireland is rated as one of the toughest countries in Europe to get a job, according to a new study conducted by careers website Glassdoor.

The report indicates that despite the recent economic turnaround, the labour market still lags that of other European nations with a relatively high unemployment rate and a large number of people who have little option but to take part-time and temporary roles.

According to the study, which analyses labour market conditions in 16 European countries across eight key indicators including unemployment rates and the numbers in temporary or part-time roles, Ireland is ranked 12th out of 16 countries, making it one of the most difficult job markets in Europe. Estonia, Norway, the UK and Austria are all seen as offering the best prospects for jobseekers.

The study shows the proportion of those working part-time who would rather be working full-time has risen substantially across almost all the countries surveyed since 2008. In Ireland just under one in ten people are in this situation, giving the country the third highest proportion of so-called “involuntary part-time workers” across the nations studied. This places Ireland marginally ahead of Italy and Spain.


In addition, Ireland is ranked third from bottom behind Greece and Spain in terms of the gap between employment rates now and before the economic crisis in 2008. Germany had the most impressive employment rebound at 2.8 percentage points and is just one of three countries - along with Austria and Switzerland - that has seen employment rise above the pre-economic crisis level. Ireland’s employment gap is at 9.6 percentage points, placing it above Spain and Greece on 9.7 and 10.8 percentage points respectively.

While Ireland’s unemployment rate has fallen dramatically in recent years, dropping below 9 per cent in October for the first time since late 2008, the country still has the fifth highest rate in Europe. Moreover, youth unemployment is also above that of many other countries.

The report shows temporary contracts are most common in Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal, affecting more than two in ten employed. While such contracts may be disliked by workers, the study reveals that it is easier to transition from a low-paid job with bad conditions into a higher-quality one than to get there directly from unemployment.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist