Featured Advice
What are your interests?



Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.

Labour Market Sector Profiles

logo imagelogo image

Social & Caring Occupations

Employment in Social and Caring roles comprises 5.4% of national employment, around 110,000 persons. 57% of the persons employed in the sector are care workers or home carers, with childminders making up a significant proportion of employees.

Data from National Skills Bulletin, 2017. SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit Figure 1: Data from National Skills Bulletin, 2017. SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit.

The number of social workers and welfare professionals grew strongly between 2011 and 2016, increasing by an annual average of 5.5%. But in other professions there was negative growth, for example youth and community workers declined by 6.4% and welfare and housing associate professionals declined by 6.2%. It is expected, however, that the aging population will also drive demand for more care workers in the coming years. But the sector is highly dependent on government policy and public funding, as can be seen by the differing growth rates for social workers and youth workers, influenced by government priorities.

Figure 2: Data from National Skills Bulletin, 2017. SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit.

Care workers and childminders also see a high rate of people coming into and out of the profession, as well as part time employment, indicating that for most it is a transitory stage in their career rather than a long term job. Supporting this, they are one of the occupations with the highest number of transitions between employers.  


Following from the National Skills Bulletin, 2017
Key points for selected Social and Care occupations

  •  In 2016, there were 110,000 persons employed in the selected social and care occupations, representing 5.4% of national employment
  • Approximately 58,000 persons were employed as care workers/home carers, accounting for just over 57% of total employment in the selected occupations
  • Over four fifths of total employment was concentrated in human health and social work and residential care activities 
  • Between 2011 and 2016, overall employment levels increased by 1.3%; the strongest employment growth rates were observed for social workers and welfare professionals (5.5% on average annually); in contrast, the strongest contraction was observed for youth and community workers as well as welfare and housing associate professionals with annual average rate declines of 6.4% and 6.2% respectively
  • Over the same period, an additional 6,700 net jobs were created; the largest employment increase (in absolute terms) was observed for care workers/home workers; the largest decrease was observed for youth and community workers 
  • Between 2015 and 2016, overall employment reduced by 1.6% (approximately 1,700 jobs); although the relative change varied strongly (ranging from declines of 25.9% and increases of 26.7%), the absolute numbers involved were relatively small
  • Approximately one fifth of the overall workforce for this group was 55 years or older while, on average, 8% were below 25 years old
  • Almost all employed social workers and welfare professionals had attained third level qualifications; approximately one third of childminders, caring personal services workers, and nursery nurses were third level graduates; 16% of care workers/home carers and 12% of personal caretakers had attained lower secondary or less qualifications
  • The share of females employed in each occupation was well above the national average excluding social workers and welfare professionals (52% female); almost all employed childminders and nursery nurses and assistants were female
  • The share of persons in part-time employment in social care occupations was higher than the national average (38% compared to 22%) with this group having the highest share nationally among all 17 groups of occupations; furthermore, over half of employed nursery nurses and assistants, as well as childminders, worked part-time
  • Almost 30% of employed welfare and housing associate professionals were nonIrish nationals, above the national average of 15.4%.

Shortage Indicators

Ireland’s ageing population will be a key driver of the future demand for care workers. The extent to which this requirement translates into employment growth will partly depend on Government policy, given that a significant share of the care services is publicly funded. Some employment expansion was already evident in recent job announcements including those by TTM Healthcare, Nua Healthcare and Ardmore Care.

Employment in child-minding declined in the most recent time period, with the fall in the number of children in the relevant age cohort (aged 3-5 years) likely to have an impact in the short term. However, government initiatives, such as the expansion of the ECCE scheme, have led to the introduction of minimum qualification levels for childcare workers (with leaders required to have a minimum of NFQ Level 6 and a forthcoming EU requirement for a level 7 qualification); this may cause difficulties in recruiting appropriately qualified staff due to issues such as wages.

In 2016, care workers and childminders combined accounted for 70% of employment in the selected social and care occupations. Employment was mostly part-time with females accounting for the majority of persons employed. These two occupations are characterised by high turnover rates, with 3,700 and 3,200 transitions respectively due to a change of employer in 2016. In addition, these were among occupations with the highest number of transitions between employment and economic inactivity.

In 2016, there were 6,700 awards in caring/nursing studies at level 5 and 4,675 in childcare (levels 5 and 6). There were also over 900 awards at third level awards (NFQ 6- 8) in areas such as early childhood care, health and education. In addition, there were approximately 3,300 job ready carers and 300 child-minders seeking employment in April 2017.

Given the high level of turnover, as well as the high volume of job vacancies advertised, it is recognised that some employers may be experiencing difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified care and childcare workers.

Although there are issues in relation to geographical mobility and a lack of attractiveness of the job (e.g. temporary contract), there is currently no shortage of care workers and childminders. However, changing demographics, along with Government policy, will impact on the demand for these skills in the short to medium term. 


Labour Market Research 18

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our labour market.

Vacancy Overview 2016 - EGFSN 
Detailed analysis of labour market indicators, vacancy trends and difficult to fill vacancies from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (May 2017)
Update on Future Skills Needs in the Food and Drink Sector 
Food Wise 2025 projects significant growth over the coming years, with a target of 85% exports growth to €19 billion by 2025, as well as an increase of 23,000 jobs over the period. These targets are dependent on successfully addressing the skills needs of
Trends in Education and Training Outputs 
Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply - A report by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs November 2016
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin October 2016 
A Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS.
Future Skills Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland August 2016 
This report reviews the supply of, and demand for, skills within the Biopharma Industry in Ireland up to 2020, with a specific focus on Biologics manufacturing as a growing sub-sector within the industry. It is estimated that 8,400 potential job openings
Vacancy Overview 2015 - EGFSN May 2016 
A report produced by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs contextualising 2015 vacancy data with what is occurring in the Irish labour market
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2015 
Annual report produced by the EGFSN which identifies variations in skills supply and demand across 8 regions (Border, Dublin, Mid East, Mid-West, Midland, South East, South West and West).
Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply 
July 2015 report on those entering and leaving the Irish education system (primary, post-primary,further education and training, and higher education) spanning the ten levels of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
Vacancy Overview 2014 - EFGSN 
The Vacancy Overview 2014 produced May 2015 by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS on behalf of the EGFSN, draws on data from newly advertised job vacancies in the following sources: DSP Jobs Ireland and IrishJobs.ie. The analysis focuses
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2014 
Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market
Research Unit in SOLAS aimed at providing an analysis of the key labour market indicators for each of Ireland’s eight administrative
regions: Border, Dublin, Mid-East, Midland, Mid-West, South-East, South-
Next Last

Current Labour Market Info 4

These sites provide news of current events that relate to our evolving labour market.

IBEC Quarterly Economic Trends 
Download publication in PDF format.
SCSI Employment Opportunities & Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying 2014-18 
New report April 2014 from SCSI outlining the Employment Opportunities and Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying projected from 2014-2018
Shortage of craft/entry level staff in the Hotel Sector 
Hotels and guesthouses are experiencing serious difficulties recruiting suitably qualified craft/entry level staff - IHF Annual Conference 24/2/14
National Skills Bulletin 2015 
The National Skills Bulletin 2015 provides an overview of the Irish labour market at occupational level, drawing on a variety of data sets, which have been systematically gathered in the National Skills Database (NSD) since 2003.

Know of a link that you think should be included in this section? Send it to info@careersportal.ie