Reduced unemployment figures welcome but concerns on emerging skills gaps need to be addressed

Following Tuesday’s publication of the CSO’s Monthly Unemployment statistical release for October 2019, Chambers Ireland welcomes the further growth of people at work.

Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot commented;

“We welcome the decline and general stability of the unemployment figures, which provides assurance regarding the strength and resilience of the Irish economy despite the volatility of international markets.

However, as we approach full employment we must be mindful of the challenges of such a tight labour market. It’s increasingly challenging for many businesses to find and retain talent leading to increased skills gaps and higher labour costs.

These concerns are emphasised in the European Chamber (Eurochambres) Economic Survey published today, where more than 50,000 businesses were surveyed on their main concerns in doing business for 2020. Low domestic demand, lack of skilled workers and rising labour costs were the top three concerns for businesses across Europe. Along with Brexit, these issues are also the top concerns of Irish business going into 2020.

We need to use the National Training Fund to focus on in-work training, which will help Irish businesses to address emerging skills gaps in their sectors and boost productivity generally. By better supporting our SMEs to engage in life-long learning, we will be in a much better position as an economy to remain competitive in the months and years ahead.”