The Labour Market is a term used to describe the relationship between the workplace (available employment) and the workforce (people, aged 16 and over, who are working or are available to work). In an ideal world, available employment will match the available workforce. This rarely happens however, and most often there are more workers than available employment. Parents often express concern that their children should choose an occupation (or career area) that will have good employment prospects.
There are several problems with this approach, however, and some compromise and risk-taking is often necessary to get the balance right between having "guaranteed" employment and a fulfilling career. There are two extremes to be considered, and each parent and child will have to make their own mind up based on their own circumstances.
1. Make the most accurate predictions based on the best research available and choose a career path in an area predicted to have good opportunities.
2. Follow your heart and hope that you will find suitable employment when you have achieved the relevant qualifications.
In either case, it would seem that being aware of the changing trends in the Labour Market can only help, even if not used as a consideration at this stage. In Ireland, annual research completed by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs makes predictions based on the employment trends in various career sectors, and makes predictions on where future opportunities may lie. This information is summarised in our Labour Market Section and presented on each sector and occupation pages where information is available.
Similar research by the international Manpower Group monitors trends worldwide, and with so many of our young having found successful employment abroad, we should probabily consider the broader 'international' world of work for additional opportunities.
As predictions on labour market trends are often proved innaccurate over the long term, the information provided can only really be taken as a rough guide, and not a certainty. We recommend that this information is used cautiously, and that wherever possible, consider the international market as an alternative source of satisfying career opportunities. Better a happy Actor in London than a frustrated Accountant at home!
Action Point: If your child has selected a career sector or occupation, read through any Labour Market information available from the two links above. Is the sector/occupation growing or contracting in Ireland or abroad? Are there opportunities in related areas/occupations? If opportunities are available abroad, have you explored studying and availability of work permits. Exploring these issues now may help you prepare effectively for the next few years.