Room for improvement in Irish labour market performance, say OECD

May 27, 2019

Despite the strong employment rate performance in the Irish labour market, an OECD study finds no room for complacency as vulnerable sectors of the labour market lag behind OECD averages.  The OECD’s 2019 Skills Strategy report assesses the labour skills challenges and opportunities across the OECD and recommends a renewal of Ireland’s national skill strategy. 

Even with a strong economy, the report finds that Ireland’s labour market performance could be improved.  The average proficiency scores of 16-65 year-olds in literacy and numeracy in Ireland are below the average of participating OECD countries, and this is also true for younger adults (16-24 year-olds) as well as for adults with tertiary education.  The report also notes that employment rates are particularly low for low-educated individuals, as well as for younger generations with almost half of Ireland’s unemployed without a job for more than a year.  This compares with less than 1 in 3 in the OECD. 

The report also noted a large share of Irish firms experienced a decline in productivity over the past decade. This is mainly the result of poor performance of domestic as opposed to internationally owned businesses.  The OECD recommends that Ireland renews its national skill strategy to ensure that all of its people have the skills to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a complex and rapidly changing world.