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 Sinead Kenny from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Sinead Kenny

Design Engineer

Smart Futures

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  Sinead Kenny
If it is possible to get some work experience during the summer holidays or weekends, it would be great. Find out if there are any positions (voluntary or otherwise) available in your local IT or University. Get involved in a hobby such as model making, this would be very helpful as it would help with dexterity & impart an understanding of the ways in which different materials interact when assembled together.

The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Social & Caring Occupations

Key points for selected Social and Care occupations

  • In 2014, there were approximately 102,000 persons employed in the selected social and care occupations, representing 5.3% of Ireland’s workforce (Figure 9.7.1)
  • With 52,000 persons employed, care workers/home carers accounted for 50% of overall employment in the selected occupations
  • Four fifths of total employment was concentrated in human health and social work activities
  • Between 2009 and 2014, overall employment levels in social and care occupations remained relatively static, with a very modest average annual decrease of 0.4% (or equivalent to 2,000); this rate of decline was similar to the national average rate (Figure 9.7.2)
  • Over that five year period, employment of welfare & housing associate professionals grew by 3.5% on average annually; the rate of growth was similar for caring personal services occupations; with the exception of child-minders, the average annual rate of contraction in employment for all other occupations was stronger than the national average
  • With almost one fifth aged 15-24, the age profile of the workforce of child-minders was the youngest among the selected occupations; in contrast, the workforces of both social workers & welfare professionals and welfare & housing associate professionals were the most mature, each with 30% aged 55 or older (Figure 9.7.3)
  • The share of third level graduates among social workers & welfare professionals was 95%; on the other hand, only one third of care workers/home carers and caring & personal services workers had attained third level qualifications; one fifth of care workers/home carers had lower secondary or less qualifications (Figure 9.7.4)
  • The workforce of most social and care occupations was predominantly female; it was most almost exclusively female for child-minders
  • Two fifths of persons employed in social and care occupations worked part-time, almost double the national average; two thirds of employed nursery nurses and assistants worked part-time (one of the highest shares nationally), while the share was just over a half for child-minders
  • One quarter of the workforce of childminders were non-Irish nationals, exceeding the national average share of 14.7%.

Shortage Indicators

In 2014, there were 51,000 care workers and 19,000 child-minders, of whom approximately one half worked part-time and the overwhelming majority was female.

These two occupations are characterised by high turnover rates, with 6,700 and 4,200 transitions due to a change of employer identified in 2014, respectively. In addition, these were among occupations with the highest number of transitions between employment, unemployment and economic inactivity.

Based on transitions to economic inactivity, replacement demand was estimated at 7,000 and 4,000 for care and childcare workers respectively. Given such a large level of movement, it is recognised that some employers may be experiencing difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified care and childcare workers.

Graduate output in 2014 amounted to 3,300 in caring/nursing at NFQ level 5 and 4,000 in childcare at NFQ levels 5 and 6, with a further 1,400 in social work and counselling at NFQ levels 5 and 6. In addition, there were 4,800 job ready carers and 500 child-minders seeking employment in May 2015.

Ireland’s ageing population will be a key driver of the future demand for care workers. The CSO projects that by 2046, over one quarter of the population will be aged 65 and over, while persons aged over 80 are expected to grow to half a million. (Population and Labour Force Projections 2016-2046, CSO, 2013).

The extent to which this requirement translates into employment growth will partly depend on Government policy, given that a significant share of the care services are publicly funded. Some employment expansion was already evident in recent job announcements including those by Euromedic Ireland, Bluebird care, Morehall lodge nursing home, RHS, Daffodil Care, etc.


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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