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 Fergal Feehely from Construction Industry Federation to give some advice for people considering this job:


Fergal Feehely

Apprentice Painter Decorator

Construction Industry Federation

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  Fergal Feehely
If you work hard and produce excellent quality work you will never be quiet.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Science Occupations

Key points for Science occupations

  • In 2015, there were approximately 21,000 persons employed in the selected science occupations, representing 1.1% of national employment.
  • Three quarters of employment was concentrated in three sectors: manufacturing (predominantly pharamaceuticals), professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly scientific R&D) and human health activities.
  • Almost two thirds of total employment in the selected occupations was at professional level; the remainder was at technician level
  • Almost 90% of science professionals were aged 25-54; the corresponding share was just over 80% for laboratory technicians.
  • At 95%, the majority of science professionals had attained third level qualifications; the corresponding share was 85% for laboratory technicians.
  • Overall, the workforce of science professionals was gender balanced, while this was almost the case for laboratory technicians.
  • The majority of employed science professionals and technicians worked fulltime and were Irish-nationals.

Shortage Indicators

While the number of people working in science occupations is comparatively small (approximately 1% of national employment), they play a critical role in the performance and future growth of the high value added and exporting sectors of the economy.

The availability of scientists is crucial as Ireland looks looks to continue to attract knowledge-intensive R&D and manufacturing activities in areas such as pharmaceuticals/biologics, medical devices, and food & beverage processing.

Government and EU initiatives (e.g. Horizon 2020) are expected to further drive the demand for these crucial skills.

Since the share of scientists aged 55 years and over is less than 10%, the number of retirements is estimated to be comparatively small. However, the replacement demand arising from other exits to economic inactivity (full-time study, caring duties etc.) is higher than what would normally be expected for professional and associate professional occupations.

In addition, sectors employing scientists are expected to perform strongly in the shortmedium term and a further move within these sectors to higher value added activities will also increase the annual recruitment requirement for scientists and scientific technicians. Recent job announcements relating to the recruitment of science skills were numerous and included Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Horizon Pharma, Pfizer, Mallinckrodt, Amneal, Regeneron and Zimmer.

Shortages in relation to the following job titles were identified:

  • Scientist: analytical development chemist; formulation scientist; microbiologist; R&D (especially with industry specific backgrounds); QC manager; QC analyst; QA specialist
  • Technician: QA/QC/validation technician; quality technician inspector. There also appears to be an issue with geographic mobility and the attractiveness of some locations outside the greater Dublin area.

Labour Market Research 21

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our labour market.

Regional Labour Markets Bulletin October 2016 
A Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS.
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
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.
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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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