Returning to Ireland: Jobs and training opportunities

Economic recovery has been uneven so do your research and ideally have a job lined up before returning

The most important thing for most emigrants who are considering a move home to Ireland to consider is what jobs are available here, and whether they are on par with what they were doing abroad.

The good news is there are more opportunities for returning emigrants than there were a few years ago. The unemployment rate in April 2016 was 7.9 per cent, the lowest rate since the crash, down from a peak of over 15 per cent in 2012. There were almost 47,000 more people at work at the end of March 2016 than there were in the same month in 2015.

There are stark regional variations, however; the economic recovery has been strongest in the east, especially in Dublin, but unemployment remains highest in the midlands. Youth employment also remains high across Ireland, at 16.9 per cent.

Skills gaps have been emerging in certain sectors, especially those which experienced the highest emigration rates in recent years, namely construction, healthcare, IT and finance.


But Stephen McLarnon, who has run the Working Abroad Expos in Ireland and internationally for the past 12 years, warns that the best opportunities available now are for people with several years experience in their field.

“The market here is missing 28- to 35-year-olds with 10 years experience, the managerial type person. These are the people who have emigrated over the past few years and gained all their experience abroad,” he says.

McLarnon says it is vital that jobseekers stress to employers the value of their overseas experience, and the skills they have gained abroad, and they should be rewarded accordingly. Research from the ESRI in 2010 showed returned emigrants could expect to receive 7 per cent higher wages than their peers who never left.  The “wage premium” is even higher for workers with a postgraduate degree, and for those who have worked outside the UK and EU.

Generally, wages took a big hit during the recession, but are recovering in most industries. According to Central Statistics Office figures for 2015, the average weekly income for Irish workers rose 1.1 per cent in the private sector to €642, and 2.2 per cent in the public sector to €931.

Resources for jobseekers

#allaboutjobs website and newsletter:
Government hub updated with the latest job and funding announcements, events, and other news. Jobseekers can sign up for a weekly email to notify them of certain vacancies in both the public and private sector. Follow them on Twitter @allaboutjobsIE.

Supporting SMEs:
An online tool developed by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to provide information about all the business supports available for small and medium enterprises. It contains more than 80 services across 30 Departments and agencies.

Skills To Work
For those who may not find work straight away and are looking to train up, the Government's interactive Skills to Work website helps jobseekers and small businesses know which of the new skills programmes they could qualify for or potentially hire from.

Established as part of the Government's action plan for jobs in 2012 to motivate people to recommend Ireland to companies. "Connectors" are rewarded with €1,000-€2,500 for each sustainable job created. More than 30,000 connectors are registered.

Startup Ireland
The independent, not-for-profit, representative body for Ireland's startup sector, with branches in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Belfast and Derry.

Jobs Ireland
Searchable jobs board run by the Department of Social Protection.  Employers can add vacancies and jobseekers can search by a range of criteria.

IT's Happening Here is a website run by the Irish software sector (supported by Enterprise Ireland) promoting career opportunities in Irish owned software companies.

Graduate jobs and resources
Grad Ireland is Ireland's official graduate jobs and careers website, run by the Association of Higher Education Careers Services and GTI Ireland (the official careers publishing partner of the Association of Higher Education Careers Services.

While every effort is made to ensure the information provided is correct at the time of update on May 25th, 2016, readers are advised to check the official websites linked to in the guide for the most up-to-date information. 

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny, founding editor of Irish Times Abroad, a section for Irish-connected people around the world, is Editor of the Irish Times Magazine