Republic among lowest in EU for jobs vacancies

Latest Eurostat figures suggest fears of a skills shortage in State may be unfounded

The job vacancy rate in the Republic was among the lowest in the European Union during the first quarter of 2017, despite suggestions of a skills shortage.

The latest Eurostat figures show the job vacancy rate in the euro area was 1.9 per cent during the period, up from 1.7 per cent recorded in both the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2016.

The Czech Republic (3.1 per cent), Belgium (2.9 per cent), Finland, Sweden (both 2.7 per cent) and Germany (2.6 per cent) had the highest job vacancy rates.

Spain (0.8 per cent), Portugal (0.9 per cent), Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Poland and Slovakia (all 1 per cent) had the lowest.

The job vacancy rate, in part, reflects the unmet demand for labour, as well as potential mismatches between the skills and availability of those who are unemployed and those sought by employers.

Labour market

Job vacancy statistics are used by the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) to analyse and monitor the evolution of the labour market at national and European level.

The National Skills Council was set up by Minister for Education Richard Bruton in April. The new Government advisory body is to monitor the performance of universities in responding to the skills needs of industry.

The move was in response to concerns that the scale of skills demands by employers was exceeding the capacity of education and training providers to meet them.

Industry figures expressed concern about a shortage of skilled graduates in key areas such as computing, engineering and construction.

In May, the National College of Ireland said one of the reasons it was seeking Government funding to build a second campus in Dublin city centre was to address a skills shortage in the capital's financial and tech sectors.

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