The world of work has undergone significant changes in recent years. The pandemic-induced move to remote working has spurred a worldwide shift in how we view and do our jobs , with many companies now allowing home working on a full-time or part-time basis forever more.
In addition, advancing technologies means the needs of the labour force are constantly changing and evolving.
While twenty years ago many young people were able to gain employment without a university degree, things have changed completely, with some jobs now requiring at least a Master’s Degree.
While these changes might seem frightening, they can create new and exciting opportunities for students and graduates who see these trends in advance and upskill in these areas.
Leo Clancy, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, said there is significant demand for employees trained in sustainability, climate and agritech in the State, as the country — and the world — seeks to become more proactive in terms of climate action.
Digital technologies continue to be strong performers in the workforce too, he said, such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, data science and robotic engineering.
Mr Clancy said the “biggest underlying challenge” for businesses is meeting the labour and skills needs. While that creates a challenge for the companies themselves, “therein lies our opportunity” for those preparing to enter the workforce, he said .
Maureen Lynch, operations director at Hays Ireland recruitment agency, said current indications suggest that all specialist areas will be recruiting in the coming years, such as technology, finance, banking, construction, engineering and life sciences.
“However, the requirements will evolve as will the technical elements of these specialist areas. Never has it been truer that we are now living in a world of lifelong-learning,” she said.
As a result, the key to carving out a successful career in this evolving landscape is to try to understand the needs of a marketplace and align training to meet those needs.
But how is one to do that? We’ve compiled some ideas of resources that would help a student who is trying to ascertain what jobs will be available around the time of their graduation.
Reading widely has many benefits, but especially when it comes to determining upcoming changes in the workplace.
Often specialised journalists pick up on emerging trends earlier than an average person, with many publications having specific sections on the economy, jobs market and issues arising for businesses.
The trick with getting the most out of media is to read across many different publications, both national and international.
Harvard Business Review is a good online resource, while the likes of The Guardian, The New York Times and The Irish Times often report on the workplace and labour market trends.
There are also some specialist publications that can provide niche information. For example, Made in Ireland is a bi-monthly magazine on technological innovation, news and the latest developments in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. It would be an invaluable resource for those seeking to build a long-term career in the area.
Most jobs are now advertised online, making it easier than ever to see what work is on offer.
There are so many websites specifically for advertising employment opportunities, such as Indeed.com, jobs.ie or monster.ie. If you keep an eye on the postings, you might notice emerging trends.
For example, a quick look on one of the websites shows a number of advertisements for engineers and senior management roles.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) website features an iLibrary on its website that provides invaluable insight on employment figures and labour market changes across a wide variety of regions, from Europe to Australia or Canada.
Particularly beneficial if a student is considering pursuing work abroad after graduation, it provides research, ebooks, articles and publications offering insights to gauge global demand for certain skills or occupations.
The Central Statistics Office
The CSO publishes quarterly labour force surveys that feature comprehensive detail on the world of work in Ireland.
While documenting the numbers in employment and unemployment, it also analyses which sectors have an increasing number of employees in active work, and which have decreasing levels of productivity.
According to the most recent publication, from quarter three in 2022, employment growth was particularly strong in sectors such as construction, accommodation, and food and education.
In terms of more specific occupations, there was an increase in those employed in professional occupations, skilled trades— such as chefs or construction workers — and personal services such as care workers.
Money is obviously a big influencing factor when deciding what job to take and what field to go into. If youare interested in figuring out just how much you could earn in a job after graduation, the website payscale.com could be of assistance.
The website enables users to research and compare average salaries for various roles and get a snapshot of current market wages in Ireland through online tools and software.
Those who are consistently asked to fill roles know exactly what employers are looking for. Ireland has a myriad of recruitment agencies, many of whom send out insights via email or social media.
It is worth either subscribing to those updates, following their online accounts or t contacting the agencies directly to see what information they might be able to provide to you about the jobs landscape.
Ms Lynch said that, for example, Hays Ireland has a blog on its website that is regularly updated with “the latest information about emerging prospects in the world of work”.
Meeting people and talking to them is almost always the best way to learn new things. Schools tend to invite speakers in for sixth years, so they can hear more about universities or places of work.
In university, there are often conferences organised. Students should attend these and try to speak with the guest speakers after.
Ms Lynch said graduates and students should talk to as many people as possible within their preferred field.
“This will give you a greater understanding of the reality of a role, the career prospects, challenges and opportunities in a given career. Critically, it will also help you grow your professional network, something that will always stand to you later on in your career,” she said.
“The good news is that most people are happy to help and make themselves available for a coffee or a Zoom call.”
Social media dominates almost all other aspects of our lives, so it’s really no wonder that it can play a role in the workplace too.
LinkedIn is probably the most obvious platform that ties into work. Request to connect with people working in industries in which you might like to pursue a career, see what they post and if they highlight any issues or opportunities.
This interconnectivity shows the need to ensure that a student’s LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, professional and accurate, Ms Lynch added.
The State agency responsible for overseeing the further education and training sector in Ireland, Solas often works with the National Skills Council.
The council regularly puts out skills bulletins, which are easily accessible online. The bulletins give a labour market overview, employment permits, vacancies and profiles of various occupational employment profiles.