Key points for Science occupations
- In 2015, there were approximately 21,000 persons employed in the selected science occupations, representing 1.1% of national employment.
- Three quarters of employment was concentrated in three sectors: manufacturing (predominantly pharamaceuticals), professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly scientific R&D) and human health activities.
- Almost two thirds of total employment in the selected occupations was at professional level; the remainder was at technician level
- Almost 90% of science professionals were aged 25-54; the corresponding share was just over 80% for laboratory technicians.
- At 95%, the majority of science professionals had attained third level qualifications; the corresponding share was 85% for laboratory technicians.
- Overall, the workforce of science professionals was gender balanced, while this was almost the case for laboratory technicians.
- The majority of employed science professionals and technicians worked fulltime and were Irish-nationals.
While the number of people working in science occupations is comparatively small (approximately 1% of national employment), they play a critical role in the performance and future growth of the high value added and exporting sectors of the economy.
The availability of scientists is crucial as Ireland looks looks to continue to attract knowledge-intensive R&D and manufacturing activities in areas such as pharmaceuticals/biologics, medical devices, and food & beverage processing.
Government and EU initiatives (e.g. Horizon 2020) are expected to further drive the demand for these crucial skills.
Since the share of scientists aged 55 years and over is less than 10%, the number of retirements is estimated to be comparatively small. However, the replacement demand arising from other exits to economic inactivity (full-time study, caring duties etc.) is higher than what would normally be expected for professional and associate professional occupations.
In addition, sectors employing scientists are expected to perform strongly in the shortmedium term and a further move within these sectors to higher value added activities will also increase the annual recruitment requirement for scientists and scientific technicians. Recent job announcements relating to the recruitment of science skills were numerous and included Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Horizon Pharma, Pfizer, Mallinckrodt, Amneal, Regeneron and Zimmer.
Shortages in relation to the following job titles were identified:
- Scientist: analytical development chemist; formulation scientist; microbiologist; R&D (especially with industry specific backgrounds); QC manager; QC analyst; QA specialist
- Technician: QA/QC/validation technician; quality technician inspector. There also appears to be an issue with geographic mobility and the attractiveness of some locations outside the greater Dublin area.