Labour Market Pulse shows growing demand for digital skills

woman working in office on computer

IDA Ireland, in partnership with Microsoft and LinkedIn, recently published its latest Labour Market Pulse, which provides an overview of the latest insights and trends across the Irish labour market to help inform decision makers across business, academia and public policy.

This Labour Market Pulse looked at activity over a five-month period, between January and May 2022, and shows the rising importance of digital skills among today’s workforces. The latest data from LinkedIn, based on analysis of the skills added by the platform’s 2+ million members in Ireland over the past six years, reveals that the share of digital skills added by members has risen by almost 20% since 2019 and by almost 30% since 2015.

Furthermore, while digital skills are on the rise, the share of non-digital skills added by members has fallen by almost 15% since 2019 and by almost 25% since 2015, while digital skills intensity is increasing across a range of non-technology sectors including Construction, Transportation & Logistics, Healthcare, Corporate Services and Finance.

Among the most popular digital skill groups added on LinkedIn last year were Digital Literacy (44%*), Data Science (24%*) and Development Tools (16%*).

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Hiring rates & employment
Meanwhile, the report also recorded a continued labour market recovery in the first quarter of this year. Hiring rates in the first five months of 2022 were on average 27% higher than the same period in 2019, despite the considerable uncertainty in the global economy due to the war in Ukraine, ongoing Covid-19 disruption in major markets and associated inflationary and supply chain pressures.

Amid several economic headwinds, uncertainty dampened consumer spending in Ireland during the first quarter of the year. However, the labour market is also growing at a rapid pace with latest CSO data showing that the total number of people employed in Ireland has reached record levels and the unemployment rate back to pre-pandemic levels below 5%. IDA Ireland has seen a strong flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in recent months, with several major announcements across sectors and regions.

Remote work
Almost one in five (19.2%) Irish job postings on LinkedIn in April offered candidates the ability to work from home. As a result, Ireland has more availability of remote roles across seven markets monitored by LinkedIn**, with a clear lead on other countries such as the UK (13.7%), United Arab Emirates (12.4%) and Germany (11.8%.) In 2021, Ireland had the highest level of employed people usually working from home in the EU in 2021 at 32%.

Earlier this year, Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index*** found that many Irish hybrid employees are considering a switch to fully remote work model (20%) and even more remote employees are considering a switch to hybrid work model (42%) over the next year.

The research emphasises what is most important to employees in their work, other than pay, with positive work culture coming out on top (59%), followed by flexible work hours (50%) and benefits that promote positive health and wellbeing (43%).

Commenting on the Labour Market Pulse, IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said: “I welcome the data insights which shows that hiring rates are continuing to demonstrate strong signs of recovery in the wake of the pandemic. Even amidst the significant uncertainty in today’s global economy, it’s highly encouraging to see the unemployment rate returning to below 5% and a strong flow of foreign direct investment into Ireland. In a challenging environment, firms throughout the country – from large multinationals to small SMEs – are adapting.”

Sharon McCooey, Head of LinkedIn Ireland, added: “Our data shows that hybrid working continues to be a significant factor in attracting talent to organisations, which in turn has led to an evolution in how we collaborate, and a natural uptake in the adoption of digital skills and tools.

“This evolution in skills across the Irish workforce is not simply being driven by the pandemic, as a range of other factors like Brexit and increased regulation has seen many professionals upskill in areas like customs regulation, Know Your Customer and GDPR according to insights gleaned from LinkedIn’s 2+ million Irish membership base.”

Full details on the latest insights from Labour Market Pulse can be found here