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Global Skills Index


A Global Skills Index published today (Thursday) by Hays, the world’s leading specialist recruitment company, has found that Ireland’s score on the Index has increased over the 2013 rating, reflecting a tightening of the availability of skilled labour in the Irish workforce.

Increase in Ireland’s score on Global Skills Index reflects a ‘tightening’ skilled labour market.

  • Improving jobs market, points to higher demand for skilled labour;
  • “Talent mismatch” in high-skilled industries identified as a key problem for Ireland and adds to wage pressures;
  • Hays recommends closer ties between business and education institutions, an accessible labour market and skilled immigration.


The Hays, Global Skills Index, is an annual report assessing the dynamics of skilled labour markets across 31 countries.*

According to this year’s figures, Ireland overall score has increased to 5.8 out of 10 in 2014, up from 5.5 in 2013. The Index also noted an increasingly secure economic recovery for Ireland, citing expected growth of 2.8% for 2014.

The Index’s Scoring is an aggregation based on seven key indicators: education flexibility; labour market participation; labour market flexibility; talent mismatch; overall wage pressure; wage pressure in high-skill industries; and wage pressure in high-skill occupations.

The Index also noted the drop in overall unemployment in Ireland, from 13.1% in 2013 to 11.7% in 2014, and in long-term unemployment from 8.1% in 2013 to 7.2% in 2014, as contributors to the country’s improved ranking.

These improvements were attributed especially to Ireland’s high international PISA rating (which measures secondary school pupils’ literacy, numeracy and science ability), less restrictive labour market regulations, and less overall general wage pressure (with the exception of specific high skilled industries).

A key finding was, however, the high level of “talent mismatch” in the Irish economy. During the economic downturn, many high-skilled workers who lost their jobs relocated or emigrated, exacerbating the existing skills shortage, or in some instances creating new ones entirely.

The Hays Global Skills Index awarded the United Kingdom an overall score of 5.1, a 0.1 decrease on last year. Like Ireland, the Index cited long-term unemployment as a contributor that country’s similar problem with a high level of talent mismatch.

Based on the results of the Global Skills Index, Hays proposed three key recommendations for governments, policy makers and employers:

  • Businesses need to partner with education authorities to create education systems that ensure all countries are producing graduates with the skills that closely align with what businesses need.
  • Governments need to work with business to ensure that labour regulations are developed with the direct aim of increasing the availability of workers with the required skills.
  • Government policy must draw a clear distinction between mass immigration and skilled migration to ensure organisations have access to the skilled workers they need.

Richard Eardley, Managing Director of Hays Ireland, said Ireland was “making inroads to reduce unemployment and drive productivity up”, adding:

“Today’s analysis of Ireland’s skilled labour market is broadly positive. A tightening labour market points to a return to a competitive, functioning jobs market, where there are both job opportunities and increasing numbers returning to work. However, employers are still faced with some serious challenges, including a skill shortages across a number of sectors. It is difficult to find professionals with the right skills and qualifications for some roles on offer and this has already put pressure on wages, which is damaging if not addressed.

“Attracting suitably qualified professionals to Ireland including encouraging our immigrants back to Ireland, ensuring the right legislation is in place and tackling educational deficits in schools is critical if we are to ensure that right labour market dynamics for economic recovery exist,” said Mr Eardley.


For further information contact:

Amanda Glancy, pr360 01 6371777 /087 227 3108
Dan Pender, pr360 01 637177/ 087 231 3415

Hays Global Skills Index key findings:

  • As the global recovery continues and more skilled jobs are being created, the talent crisis will continue to worsen
  • Companies are struggling to find employees with the necessary skills, particularly in high-skill occupations such as IT and engineering
  • Developed economies are experiencing the most severe labour market pressures, including the US, Germany, France and the UK. Meanwhile developing countries – such as Brazil, Mexico and India – have seen conditions ease
  • In 2014, wage pressure is evident in a number of labour markets around the world. Talent mismatch levels and labour market participation have also worsened  
  • Governments and businesses must work together to find new solutions, to better develop local workforces with the skills industry needs and thereby support further economic growth

Notes on methodology

The Hays Global Skills Index provides a score for each country of between 0 and 10 which measures the pressures present in its labour market. The score is calculated through an analysis of seven equally weighted indicators, each covering different dynamics of the labour market, such as education levels, labour market flexibility and wage pressures.

An overall score of above 5.0 indicates that the labour market is ‘tighter’ than normal. A score below 5.0 indicates the market is ‘looser’ than normal. Within these overall scores, however, the scores attributed to each of the seven indicators can vary significantly, highlighting the different dynamics and pressures faced by each country.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2014 the Group employed 8,237 staff operating from 237 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2014:

– the Group reported net fees of £724.9 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £140.3 million;
– the Group placed around 57,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 212,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 42% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 34% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

About Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics is one of the world’s foremost independent global forecasting and research consultancies, renowned for its econometric-based consulting and extensive research services. Founded in 1981, Oxford Economics was originally formed as a joint, commercial venture with the business college of Oxford University, Templeton College. Since its foundation, Oxford Economics has grown into an independent provider of global economic, industry and business analysis, headquartered in Oxford, UK.

Oxford Economics is a world leader in quantitative analysis, going deeper and further than other economic advisory firms, in helping its clients to fully assess the opportunities and challenges they face for future strategy and direction. It specialises in global quantitative analysis and evidence based business and public-policy advice, underpinned by a sophisticated portfolio of business forecasting services consisting of regularly updated reports, databases and models on countries, cities and industries.

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