Greater Dublin, provincial cities best equipped to deal post Covid-19 crisis

Regions will be affected by having fewer jobs where remote working an option, UCC study finds

Greater Dublin will be the region least affected by the economic crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic due to better remote working potential for people living there, a study by two University College Cork academics finds. Image: iStock.

Greater Dublin will be the region least affected by the economic crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic due to better remote working potential for people living there, a study by two University College Cork academics finds. Image: iStock.

 

Greater Dublin will be the region least affected by the economic crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic due to better remote working potential for people living there, a study by two University College Cork academics states.

Dr Frank Crowley and Dr Justin Doran found that social distancing and remote working would be less of an issue in and around the capital and in provincial cities due to a higher proportion of people having jobs in sectors where doing so was an option.

The academics said this disparity meant that “a one size fits all policy” response to the crisis would be unlikely to resolve the regional inequalities.

“The Greater Dublin city region will be the least affected by social distancing measures and will likely be better insulated due to greater remote working potential for the population living there,” they wrote.

The authors, who are attached to the Spatial and Regional Economics Research Centre at the UCC Department of Economics, looked at Irish data in the context of international trends and used two indices to capture the potential impact of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Firstly, they looked at the occupations which have the most potential to engage in social distancing procedures and secondly they looked at the occupations which may have the most scope for remote working.

They used occupational data from US data centre Occupational Information Net and then applied it to the 318 different job categories in Ireland, as defined by the Central Statistics Office.

Occupations

Dr Crowley and Dr Doran found that if social distancing potential in an occupation, sector or place is high, then it is likely that remote working potential is too.

They found these measures differ hugely across occupations, sectors and places and that the highest potential for both was among jobs found in the Greater Dublin area and in provincial cities.

“At a town level, more affluent, more densely and highly populated, better educated and better broadband provisioned towns have more jobs with potential for social distancing and remote working,” they said.

Prior to Covid-19, they note that only 14 per cent of the Irish workforce worked remotely with highest proportion of employees doing so the education, ICT and finance sectors.

Sectors such as health, administration, construction, retail, transport and accommodation and food had less than one in 10 employees working from home.

Looking at the Government’s Pandemic Unemployment Payment statistics, the academics identified accommodation and food, retail, motor vehicle repair and construction as being among the most affected sectors.

Dependent

They said this had regional implications as some were more dependent on the sectors with lower potential for social distance and remote working, which would result in regional inequalities.

“For example, given the dependence of some peripheral areas and smaller urban areas on the tourism and hospitality industry, the economic contagion effect at the local level may have devastating consequences for these communities,” they wrote.

“The Irish government needs to consider carefully how local and regional policy settings could be redesigned in order to better accommodate the impacts of increased social distancing and remote working on society over the short term and how it could help deeply affected workings and businesses recover in the medium to longer term.”