Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Marie Kinsella-White from McDonald's to give some advice for people considering this job:

Marie Kinsella-White

Operations Consultant


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Marie Kinsella-White
The job that I do is highly specialised and the skills that I am required to have to do my job can only be acquired in our restaurant. However, by taking a job in McDonald's you are opening a career path to use those skills anywhere - the skills you acquire are very transferable. It doesn’t matter where you start, the opportunities are there.

Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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Key points for selected operatives and related occupations

  • In 2015, there were approximately 70,000 persons employed in operative occupations, representing 3.5% of Ireland’s workforce.
  • Almost two thirds of total employment of operatives (45,000 persons) was concentrated in manufacturing (mostly food; machinery and equipment; pharmaceuticals; computer, electronic and optical products).
  • Between 2010 and 2015, overall employment expanded by 2.3% on average annually (compared to 0.8% nationally); employment expanded in all occupations excluding chemical & related process operatives and plant & machine (contracting by 5.9% and 2.3% on average annually respectively).
  • The strongest growth was observed for construction operatives (6.1% on average annually), followed by food, drink & tobacco and other process operatives (each by 5% on average annually).
  • Over the five-year period, overall employment expanded by 7,600; the largest increases were observed for construction operatives, and food, drink & tobacco operatives (each by 3,000), while the largest decrease was observed for chemical & related process operatives (2,000).
  • Between 2014 and 2015, employment expanded by 3.8% (above the 2.6% increase recorded nationally), or 2,500 persons; the largest increase was observed for construction operatives (1,500), while the largest decrease was observed for plant & machine operatives (1,000).
  • At least three quarters of those employed in each operative occupation was aged 25-54; one fifth of employed construction operatives was aged 55 or older, the most mature workforce among operative occupations; in contrast, the youngest workforces were for plant & machine, and food, drink & tobacco operatives.
  • The education profile of employed operatives was skewed towards lower educational attainment levels; the share employed in all occupations (excluding chemical & related process operatives) who had attained lower secondary or less qualifications was above the national average, with the highest share for construction operatives (at almost a half); the share who had attained higher secondary/FET qualifications was above the national average for all occupations; in contrast, the share with third level qualifications was well below the national average for all occupations.
  • Almost two fifths of food, drink & tobacco operatives in employment were non-Irish nationals ─ one of the highest shares among occupations in the national workforce; the share was at or close to one fifth for construction, other process and routine operatives.
  • The workforce of most occupations was predominantly male who worked fulltime.

Shortage Indicators

While over 6,400 vacancies were advertised for operatives through the PES and portals alone in 2015, there were over 9,000 operatives (mostly process and construction) seeking employment through the PES in May 2016.

Many vacancies are arising due to turnover, with frequent changes of employers observed in 2015 for all types of operatives, including food, process and construction operatives.

Shortages of the following operative skills have been identified:

  • Qualified CNC (computer numeric control) operatives: particularly in high technology manufacturing (e.g. medical devices and pharmaceuticals) and engineering; many unemployed operatives have been trained in traditional operative skills and lack the technical and digital competencies required for high technology automated manufacturing
  • Production operatives: vacancies, particularly in the high-tech manufacturing sector, are proving difficult to fill and given the high churn rates, it is possible that retention issues may arise as job opportunities in other sectors improve, resulting in a labour shortage for operative occupations.

While there is currently no shortage of construction operatives (in May 2016 there were over 1,000 job ready job seekers for this occupation), evidence points to an increasing demand for experienced tower crane operatives and pipelayers in line with the upturn in the construction industry.

Labour Market Research 24

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)
Addressing the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics Sector in Ireland 2015 2020 
February 2015 EGFSN report assessing the skills and competency requirements for the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector in Ireland up to 2020
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 The analysis focuses
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)
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).
Assessment of Future Skills Requirements in the Hospitality Sector in Ireland 2015-2020 
Report from the EGFSN assessing the skills demand within the Hospitality sector in Ireland to 2020 to ensure the right supply of skills to help drive domestic hospitality sector business and employment growth.
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
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
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin October 2016 
A Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS.
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
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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.

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