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 Chris Bell from Lidl to give some advice for people considering this job:


Chris Bell

Operations Manager



  Chris Bell
People management experience and understanding is vital, the ability to get the best out of those around will always make you successful. A degree is needed to be considered for this job as an entry point, but for those without a degree, Lidl has an excellent record on internal promotion. I started as a deputy store manager with 2 years management experience from a previous employer and worked my way to this position over 5 years. An interest in supply chain management and personnel management are essential to perform at the highest levels in retail. Flexibility, commitment, determination, maturity and good communication skills are required for this position. Enthusiasm for the role is often overlooked as a factor in success. I find that those who love their work really do succeed more often.

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.
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Key points for selected operatives and related occupations

  • In 2013, there were approximately 72,000 persons employed in operative occupations, representing 3.8% of Ireland's workforce
  • Approximately 70% of total employment of operatives was concentrated in manufacturing (mostly food; machinery and equipment; pharmaceuticals; computer, electronic and optical products)
  • Between 2008 and 2013, overall employment in the selected occupations increased by 3% on average annually; this was in contrast to an average annual decline of 2.4% in total national employment; the strongest employment growth was observed for food, drink & tobacco operatives (16.2% on average annually), while the strongest decline was observed for plant and machine operatives (9.3% on average annually)
  • Over the five-year period, there were approximately 10,000 net jobs created; the largest employment increase was observed for food, drink & tobacco operatives (6,600), while the largest employment decline was observed for plant and machine operatives (4,900)
  • Between 2012 and 2013, overall employment of operatives increased by 2.1%; the largest employment increase was observed for assemblers (1,700), while the largest decline was for food, drink & tobacco operatives (1,800)
  • The workforce of both construction and plant & machine operatives was the most mature among operative occupations, with approximately one fifth each aged 55 or older, exceeding the national average; in contrast, it was the youngest for food, drink & tobacco (14% aged under 25)
  • The education profile of operatives was skewed towards the lower end of the educational attainment spectrum; for instance, half of construction operatives had lower secondary or less qualifications
  • The share of non-Irish nationals employed in each operative occupation (excluding construction and chemical) exceeded the national average; at 34% and almost 30%, the highest share was for food, drink & tobacco and plant & machine operatives respectively.

Shortage Indicators

In 2013, vacancies were most frequent for process (e.g. food); construction (e.g. scaffolder) and machine (Computer Numerical Control (CNC)) operatives. Higher than average replacement rates were observed for construction and food operatives, while the later also had a higher than average turnover rate in 2013.

While there is currently no shortage of operatives in general, it is recognised that some manufacturing companies in engineering, medical devices and pharmaceuticals are experiencing difficulty in sourcing operatives with CNC skills.

In May 2013, there were over 300 job seekers registered on the DSP system who were machine tool setters and engineering operatives. However, it is likely that many job seekers were trained in traditional operative skills and are deficient in the digital competencies required for technologyintensive manufacturing environments.

Expected significant capital investment in high technology sectors is likely to positively impact on the demand for operative skills in the medium term. In addition, employment of operatives is expected to be positively affected by the further automation of production processes and the associated replacement of unskilled labour with skilled operatives.

However, the operative role is expected to become more knowledge and skill intensive (i.e. super-operative).

Labour Market Research 14

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

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-
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.
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"
Addressing Future Demand for High-level ICT Skills (EGFSN) 
Study forecasting the demand for high-level ICT skills to 2018, across all sectors of the economy in Ireland.
The Green Economy in Ireland (EGFSN) 
This study identifies the future skills needs of enterprise engaged within the green economy in Ireland and proposes a range of measures to ensure that their future skills base will drive business and employment growth. The study informs education and tra
National Skills Bulletin 2013 
Current National Skills Bulletin, providing a detailed overview of the Irish labour market. It is based on research conducted by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit of FÁS (Now SOLAS)on behalf of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs.
CSO - Central Statistics Office 
This is the primary source of statistical information about our population. Several of the reports generated by the CSO provide the basis of most other reports on the Labour Market.
Skills and Labour Market Reports 
A list of current Publications directly related to Labour Market conditions produced jointly by SOLAS (formerly FAS) and the EGFSN
Forfás - Ireland's national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation 
Forfás provides the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (formerly Enterprise, Trade and Employment - DETE) and other stakeholders with analysis, advice and support on issues related to enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation.
EGFSN - Expert Group on Future Skills Needs 
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) is a body appointed by the Irish Government to advise it on aspects of education and training related to the future skills requirements of the enterprise sector of the Irish economy.
Next Last

Current Labour Market related info  3

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
Irish Independant News - Labour Market 
Current news relating to the Irish Labour market.

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