Is there a new knowledge economy in Ireland? An analysis of recent occupational trends
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the substantial expansion in the labour force between 1997 and 2004 on the proportion of the Irish workforce that can be categorised as working in knowledge occupations. Design/methodology/approach – The Quarterly National Household Survey was used to estimate the trend in knowledge type work at the national level for the period 1997 to 2004, specifically examining which specific occupations are increasing over this period. Findings – Employment growth occurred relatively equally at the high-, middle- and low-skill occupational levels, indicating the continuing importance of intermediate and particularly low-skill occupations in the structure and expansion of the Irish labour force. Research limitations/implications – There are substantial problems with the use of broad occupational level data as a proxy to measure the extent of knowledge occupations. It would be useful to consider adopting the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations as it includes the complexity of the set of tasks involved in a job, formal education, training and previous experience. Practical implications – The findings indicate the continuing importance of intermediate and low-skill occupations as well as high-skill occupations in the structure and expansion of the Irish labour force. Government training and education policy needs to target resources across a broad range of skills and occupations. Originality/value – The paper provides a profile and analysis of occupational changes in the Irish labour market.
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