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 Rachel Berry from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Rachel Berry


Health Service Executive

Read more

  Rachel Berry
Consider your options carefully. It is likely that you are expecting top grades in your Leaving Certificate if you are considering pharmacy as a career so there will be plenty of doors open to you. Make sure you do plenty of work experience in different areas of pharmacy and if it is healthcare you are interested in then consider getting some work experience in medicine etc. I know quite a few people who have completed a pharmacy degree only to realise they actually want to do medicine!

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Study Skills
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation
Labour Market Sector Profiles
logo imagelogo image

Science Occupations

Key points for selected Science occupations

  • In 2014, there were approximately 19,000 persons employed in the selected science occupations, representing 1% of national employment (Figure 9.1.1)
  • Almost three quarters of employment was concentrated in three sectors: manufacturing (mostly pharmaceuticals), professional, scientific and technical activities (e.g. scientific R&D) and human health activities
  • Almost two thirds of total employment was at professional level; the remainder was at technician level (i.e. laboratory technicians)
  • Over the period 2009 to 2014, overall employment increased very modestly, at an average annual rate of 0.3%; however, this was in contrast to negative growth of 0.5% recorded nationally; over the same five year period, employment levels in each of the science occupations remained relatively static (Figure 9.1.2)
  • Between 2013 and 2014, overall employment decreased by 0.3%; this was in contrast to positive growth of 1.7% nationally
  • Almost 90% of science professionals were aged 25-54; the corresponding share was 70% for laboratory technicians; one fifth of employed laboratory technicians was aged 55 or older (Figure 9.1.3) 
  • Approximately 95% of science professionals held third level qualifications; the share was 70% for laboratory technicians (Figure 9.1.4)
  • The overall workforce of both science professionals and technicians was almost gender balanced
  • The majority of employed science professionals and technicians worked fulltime and were Irish-nationals
  • In quarter 4 2014, the unemployment rate for science occupations was 5% ─ half the national rate.

Shortage Indicators

Although accounting for a relatively small workforce (6,400 natural scientists (chemical, biological and physical) and 6,700 laboratory technicians), natural science skills are critical for the performance and future growth of high value added, exporting sectors of the Irish economy, such as pharmaceuticals medical devices and food processing.

The importance of the availability of natural scientists is illustrated by the Government’s investments in this area, with the most recently announced fund of €85 million for the life sciences sector.

Given the age profile of scientists in employment (less than 10% are aged over 55), exits to retirements are estimated to be small. However, replacement demand is estimated to be greater than retirements due to exits to economic inactivity (e.g. home duties, study etc.). In addition, sectors employing scientists are expected to perform strongly in the short to medium term. Moreover, a further move within these sectors to higher value added activities will further increase the annual recruitment requirement for scientists and scientific technicians.

Recent job announcements relevant to the recruitment of science skills were numerous and included Horizon Pharma, Life Scientific (R&D crop protection), Bausch and Lomb (contact lenses), ENBIO Space Technology Centre (thermal management treatments or sunscreen technology for satellites, spacecraft and space related hardware), Zimmer (orthopaedic implants), Advanced Laboratory Testing (food).

Graduate output from the life and physical sciences is significant, with over 3,500 graduates in 2013/2014, 80% of whom are at honours degree or post-graduate level. Based on the CAO applications, a similar number of graduates can be expected in the coming years.

Despite the available graduate supply and the supply from unemployment (in May 2015, there were 120 chemical, biological and physical scientists and 260 laboratory technicians (most holding third level qualification) job-ready job seekers), shortages of science skills have been identified. Many employers are experiencing difficulty in filling the following roles:

  • Chemical and biological scientists and biochemists in the areas of pharma covigilance (drug safety and clinical trials), analytical development and product formulation
  • Cardiac technicians (production process)
  • Biotechnology technician (computerised maintenance (preventive, corrective, predictive), SOPs/EWI and GMP engineering systems, cleanroom).

There is also an issue regarding the availability of persons willing to work as laboratory technicians, as most graduates at technician level (NFQ 6 and 7) stay in education to progress to higher qualifications, while holders of NFQ level 8 qualifications and above seek more challenging roles than those available at technician level.


Labour Market Research 20

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our 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
Assessing the Demand for Big Data and Analytics Skills 2013 - 2020 
May 2014 EGFSN report identifying measures to build up the Big Data and analytics talent pool in Ireland over the period up to 2020 in line with enterprise demand.
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2014 
Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market
Research Unit in SOLAS aimed at providing an analysis of the key labour market indicators for each of Ireland’s eight administrative
regions: Border, Dublin, Mid-East, Midland, Mid-West, South-East, South-
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
EGFSN - Report for HE Providers on Springboard 2014 / ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme 
February 2014 Report "Guidance for Higher Education providers on current and future skills needs of enterprise - Springboard 2014 / ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme"
Next Last

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.

Know of a link that you think should be included in this section? Send it to