Working in Ireland

Read the following advice on employment in Ireland.

The employment situation

  • Ireland is one of the few countries that encourage new workers from abroad. However, Ireland has a relatively small labour market and there’s a lot of competition for the best paid jobs, although in certain industries where skilled staff are in short supply it’s possible to pick and choose from an abundance of vacancies.
  •  However, the unemployment rate among skilled migrants is much lower than the national average. Most people who are prepared to work hard and adapt to the Irish way of doing things find that they do better in their job or career there than they would at home.
  • Nevertheless, it’s essential to have a plan of action, do your homework before arrival and (if necessary) be prepared to change your plans as you go along.
  • Whereas only a few decades ago, many young people sought a ‘job for life’, today people in their 20s and 30s don’t expect to stay with the same employer for much more than two years (though some employers are now offering three and five-year ‘packages’ in an attempt to recoup their investment in recruiting and training new staff).
  • Ireland has also witnessed a movement away from restricted job definitions to more generalised role descriptions. Most significantly there has been a major shift in the economy away from agriculture towards manufacturing and, especially, service industries.
  •  Although many workers have been retrained, not all have been able to make the necessary transition and job vacancies in tele-services, software and electronics manufacturing, nursing and healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medical products, automotive and aerospace engineering, business and financial services, construction and retailing in particular have multiplied in recent years.
  • In fact, in the first four of these areas there’s now a chronic shortage of skilled workers.
Finding a job
  • Irish Newspapers- check libraries abroad, Irish Consulate or High Commissions, Irish Immigration Services, all of which may have a reading room
  • The Internet-Most of the leading Irish newspapers have websites aimed at jobseekers. These include ,  ( The Irish Times site),  ( Irish Independent),  ( Sunday Business Post) and  ( Sunday Tribune).You can also look at the websites of the leading Irish job agencies such as CPL Computer Placement, Grafton Recruitment, Hays, Headhunt, Marlborough, NRC, PPG Accountancy, Premier Recruitment, Richmond Recruitment, Skills Group.Other specialist sites include , (both of which claim to be Ireland’s number one site), , , , , and , which lists more than 3,000 vacancies, mainly in the IT sector, and also has useful information about working in Ireland. The FÁS website is .

  • Employment Agencies and Recruitment Specialists- unlike in the UK, they are essentially the same. You can apply to these consultancies just as you would in the UK, often specialising in the kind of position you're looking for.
  • Government Departments- If you’re considering a position or career with a government department or another public body, you’ll need to contact the Civil Service Commission (Tel. 01-661 5611 or 01-676 7086), which deals with all government recruitment, including administrative and technical staff ofHealth Boards and local authorities. All appointments are made by a process of open competition, although current legislation restricts applications to EU citizens.
  • Networking- making contacts and making people aware of your qualifications and search for a job may help you in your search
The work ethos
  • The Irish generally aren’t workaholics; they value their social life too highly for that.  The standard Irish office day is from 9am until 5.30pm with an hour for lunch, taken between 12 and 2pm. Many offices, including government departments, are closed between 12.30 and 2pm.
  • The average Irish working week is 39 hours and the legal maximum 48 hours (note that this is a four-month average, so your actual working hours could fluctuate considerably). Working hours are governed by EU directives, which stipulate that you’re entitled to a minimum of 11 hours’ continuous rest in every 24 hours and at least one rest period in a working day of more than six hours. You’re also entitled to at least 24 hours’ continuous rest every week.
  • Employers are required to compensate staff for Sunday working (i.e. pay them more than their normal daily wage) and night workers are entitled to a free health assessment before starting night work and at regular intervals thereafter.

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