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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:


Paul Dowling



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  Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Business & Financial Occupations

Key points for selected business and financial occupations

  • In 2014, there were approximately 162,000 persons employed in the selected business and financial occupations, representing 8.5% of Ireland’s workforce (Figure 9.4.1)
  • Approximately half of overall employment was concentrated in financial, insurance and real estate activities (36%) and legal and accounting activities (15%)
  • One third of overall employment was at administrative level (mostly bookkeepers, payroll managers and wages clerks; bank and post office clerks); one third was at professional level (mostly accountants and tax experts); one quarter was at associate professional level and the remainder was at managerial level
  • The largest number of persons were employed in financial administrative occupations (54,000) and accounting and taxation (approximately 39,000) ─ accounting for one third and one quarter of overall employment respectively
  • Between 2009 and 2014, overall employment in business and financial occupations decreased very modestly, by 0.3% on average annually; however, over the period, employment growth varied by occupation; the strongest growth (in relative terms) was recorded for management consultants, business analysts & project managers, and other business associate professionals (each at 12% on average annually), and financial accounts managers (9.8% on average annually); in contrast, the strongest rate of decline was recorded for brokers and insurance underwriters (6.8% on average annually) and financial institution managers & directors, and financial administrative occupations (jointly at 4.2% on average annually); the largest absolute decline was recorded for financial administrative occupations (Figure 9.4.2)
  • Between 2013 and 2014, overall employment levels remained relatively static
  • Over four fifths of persons employed in business and financial occupations were aged 25-54 (Figure 9.4.3)
  • Over 90% of those employed at professional level and almost 80% at associate professional level were third level graduates; the share was 56% for those employed in administrative occupations (Figure 9.4.4)
  • The share of females employed in financial administrative occupations and as HR managers and HR industrial relations officers was relatively high, ranging from 70% to 75%.

Shortage Indicators

In 2014, newly advertised vacancies for persons with financial and business skills were numerous. For instance, on the DSP and vacancy portals alone, there were 2,300 vacancies for financial professionals (accountants, business analysts, actuaries and economists), 2,500 for financial technicians (accounting, insurance and investment) and 2,500 for financial clerks.

Financial and business skills are demanded by almost all sectors of the economy, although many are employed directly in the financial and professional activities sectors. Many of the vacancies were arising due to the need to replace those who leave employment. For instance, almost 4,000 financial clerks, 2,000 financial professionals (accountants, business analysis, etc.) and 1,300 financial technicians (accounting, investment, and insurance) transitioned from employment into economic inactivity (retirement, study, home duties etc.) creating replacement demand. In addition, significant turnover was present in financial occupations, particularly in relation to financial accounts managers, economists and financial clerks.

Nonetheless, expansion demand for financial skills is expected to remain strong, as illustrated in recent job announcements: Miagen (forecasting, planning and analysis), Zalando (big data analytics), Acorn Life (financial advice), Accenture (including financial services), Zurich (insurance) etc. Demand for HR skills is also expected to grow as economic recovery takes hold, as illustrated in recent job announcements in the HR area (e.g. Hays Ireland Recruitment).

There is an ample supply of financial and business skills from the education system: in 2013/2014, there were 26,000 futher and higher education graduates from social science and business courses (including accounting and finance), of which 15,000 were at NFQ level 8 or above. Approximately 500 financial professionals and 400 financial technicians with third level qualifications were registered with the DSP in May 2015 as job ready job seekers, which is not excessive when the size of the workforce and frictional unemployment is taken into account.

However, shortages in the areas of business and finance continue to exist. There were over 350 work permits issued to non-EEA nationals for work in financial occupations (as managers, professionals and technicians) in 2014.

Shortages of skills have been identified in the following areas:

  • Risk management
  • Compliance (ALM, BAEL, MiFID, IAFID, AIFMD)
  • Accounting (tax, audit, financial restructuring and management)
  • Business intelligence (e.g. Oracle OBIEE, ERP with SAP)
  • Data analytics, economics and statistics (big data, predictive analytics, data visualisation/infographics and quantitative modelling)
  • Financial advisors (banking/ insurance)
  • Fund accounting/trustee roles and transfer agency client servicing roles (especially with AML skills)
  • Multilingual financial clerks (credit control and debt control).

Many financial companies are sourcing science, maths and computing graduates for roles in big data, quantitative modelling and business intelligence, as technological advances continue to blur the line between IT, finance, maths, science, engineering and other technical roles. This is only intensifying the issue of the availability of technical skills in Ireland and globally.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US which is currently being negotiated is expected to create significant growth in the financial services sector in Ireland, with particular growth potential identified for the insurance sector (DJEI, TTIP Impact in Ireland, February 2015) This is likely to further drive the demand for financial skills at professional, technician and administrative 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.

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