Key points for selected legal and security occupations
- In 2015, there were approximately 35,000 persons employed in legal and security occupations, representing 1.8% of Ireland’s workforce.
- Almost 70% of overall employment was concentrated in public administration and defence, while almost a further 30% was in professional, scientific and technical activities.
- Over the period 2010 to 2015, overall employment levels in legal and security occupations contracted (by 3.7% on average annually, or 7,500 persons); this was the strongest rate of decline of the 17 occupational groups examined, and was in contrast to the very modest growth of 0.8% nationally.
- Over that five year period, employment contracted in all occupations, although it was negligible for protective service occupations; the strongest declines (in absolute and relative terms) were observed for army personnel (8.9% on average annually) and Gardaí (3.7% on average annually).
- Between 2014 and 2015, employment contracted by 2.1% (compared to a 2.6% increase nationally), with less than 1,000 net job losses; employment levels for most occupations remained relatively unchanged over the period.
- Just over four fifths of persons employed in legal and security occupations was aged 25-54; one quarter of employed barristers, judges, solicitors & related professionals was 55 or older ─ the most mature workforce.
- All persons employed as legal professionals (i.e. barristers, judges, solicitors and related legal professionals) had attained third level qualifications; the corresponding share was almost one third for employed army personnel and two fifths for protective service workers; almost three fifths of employed army personnel had attained higher secondary/FET qualifications, while the share was almost a half for protective services workers.
- While employment in most legal and security occupations was predominantly male, it was almost gender balanced for the combined group (barristers, judges, solicitors & related professionals).
- Most persons employed in the selected occupations worked full-time and were Irish-nationals.
There were 10,700 legal professionals (including judges, barristers and solicitors) employed in Ireland in 2015.
With over 1,500 law graduates from NFQ level 8 and above courses in 2015, the supply from the education and training system appears to be sufficient to meet the recruitment requirement (which is estimated at approximately than a 1,000). However, the demand for law graduates is not confined to the legal profession alone and there is a need for legal expertise across various business and industry sectors, particularly in relation to compliance in sectors such as aviation, finance (anti-fraud), security and data analytics/protection issues.