So where are all the jobs going to come from?


Posted on: 10th March, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

In advocating effective and strategic job-seeking, the questions most frequently posed are ‘Why bother?’ and ‘Where are all these jobs going to come from anyway?’ or similar forms of apathy and disillusionment. Fergal Conlon, who oversees the Job-Seekers Resource Centres in West Cork, says this is understandable. The past six years have been so traumatic and frustrating.

I did not study in ‘Hogwarts’ and so I never learned how to tell the future or to read a crystal ball. Any prediction of the future must include a ‘sensible use only’ health warning. Saying that, we can bring some science and analysis to help us predict where future job growth will occur.

Nationally, there are an excellent series of reports published by Forfas – National Skills Bulletin and others.

In 2013 (based on 2012 data), the following skilled occupations were identified as shortages: ICT / Engineering / Science / Finance / Health / Sales / Craft / Transport / Clerical sectors are mentioned.

Many of these are highly skilled. There is a suite of training opportunities provided to job-seekers in an attempt to meet these gaps; see Springboard, Back to Education, Momentum, VTOS, Skillsnets, Solas etc.

Impressed with the national report, West Cork Development Partnership commissioned a local study – A Future Skills Needs Research report for West Cork. This report is provided free on our West Cork Job Support website at:

There is a handy table on page 16 summarising the hard to fill vacancies for West Cork for 2012.

The report examined these key industrial sectors: Food; Seafood; Energy; Forestry; Traded Services; Tourism and Hospitality; Social and care; Pharma; Retail; & ICT.

For these sectors, WCDP explored: Key drivers of change (with particular reference to jobs and employment growth) / profiled companies in each sector / examined skills required and made recommendations for each sector on training and future skills needed. The report identifies 1,300 planned job increases across the sectors mentioned.

Nationally, construction employment rose from 149,000 in 2002 to 215,000 in 2006 and reduced to 90,000 by 2011. As normal economic conditions prevail, we can anticipate construction employment creeping back towards the 2002 level.

Retail is a very difficult sector to assess. The influence of online shopping is having a significant effect. I would be fearful that retail will continue to struggle for the foreseeable future.

Services – Most modern economies are dominated by service industries, so for every export orientated job created in our international sector a number of service jobs will also emerge in a ‘multiplier’ effect. These could be in leisure, consumption or hospitality. Predicted growth in the care industry is also worthy of mention.

Public Sector. The moratorium will end eventually. The public sector in all its complexity represents 300,000 jobs in the economy.  One can predict that a natural level of turnover within the public sector will resume shortly.

Within existing jobs in the economy – There is always a large volume and continuous turnover of existing jobs in the economy every year.

Who will get those jobs? All recruitment will be exceptionally competitive. Every business will need skills, dedication and commitment. If you do not offer these traits, most likely someone else will. Communication, literacy, IT and people skills will also be needed.

Key message — Become master of your own destiny. Pick a future job.  Pick your career. Be strategic. Pick something that suits and be confident and optimistic in your choice, ground it well in your personality and circumstances. Then do something, be proactive and get out there and make it happen for yourself. There are a huge amount of supports available. Pop into your local job-seekers resource centre for more information.

Fergal Conlon is Local and Community Development Programme Manager with West Cork Development Partnership and is responsible for the development and oversight of Job-Seekers Resource Centres in West Cork. New volunteers are always needed. Contact if you are interested in volunteering with Kinsale / Bandon / Clonakilty / Skibbereen / Bantry or Macroom Job-Seeker’s Resource Centres. See

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