The Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI) said that a skills shortage could threaten economic growth in the South and North of Ireland. The ERSI explained that there’s a “skill mismatch” in the Republic that could act as a barrier to growth in the future. Furthermore, the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) stated that the North is “trapped in a low-skills equilibrium”.

The ERSI explained that under half of full-time Irish employees reported that their skills are greater than those required to do their job. This comes in as the fourth highest rate of skill under-utilisation in the EU.

It is said that the degree of ‘matched employment’ – where employees feel that their skills are matched to their job – is the fourth lowest in the EU at 46%. By better aligning people’s skills and their jobs, economic growth could potentially be boosted.

The ERSI found that the share of highly-educated, foreign-born workers in Ireland is the third highest in the EU, standing at 57%.

The NERI stated that the in the North, many firms lack the skilled workforce to grow:

“We argue that it is trapped in a low-skills equilibrium, a situation where firms are predominately engaged in low-value production providing low skilled and consequently low paid jobs. Firms may want to innovate and grow, but they lack the higher skilled workforce to do so. Workers would invest in their own skills, but the economy lacks the high skilled jobs that would reward them.”

Director of NERI, Tom Healy explained that there is an urgent need for public policy to invest in raising skills.
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