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Three in four job seekers could leave Ireland in the next three years

Three quarters (74 per cent) of the professional workforce in Ireland would consider leaving in the next three years if the economic situation does not improve. Hays, the world’s leading recruiting expert in qualified, professional and skilled people, surveyed 2,173 individuals from backgrounds including IT, accountancy and engineering, regarding emigration last month.


The survey examined the migration of professional and skilled workers from Ireland. Over a third (35 per cent) of the survey’s respondents have left the country in the last three years for work – some to pursue an opportunity and others because they had no other option. Some 27 per cent left for the UK, 22 per cent for another European country, 15 per cent for Australasia and 7 per cent for North America. Three in five (62 per cent) of those who have moved away from Ireland believe the quality of life is better where they now reside.

When asked about employment prospects in Ireland, two thirds of the survey’s respondents are not confident they will improve within the next 3 years. Furthermore, 81 per cent do not believe the Government’s Jobs Initiative will help improve their employment prospects

“There appears to be a mismatch in the areas of employment the Irish Government are investing in and the skills that currently exist in the country. The Government's Jobs Initiative, although welcome, has not instilled confidence among professionals.” said Richard Eardley, Managing Director of Hays Ireland.

Hays conducted the same migration survey on construction workers 12 months ago and found 69 per cent were not confident the economy would improve. Now, in 2011, their pessimism had pushed this figure up to 76 per cent. There was little optimism across all professions surveyed, with only 5 per cent very confident the Irish economic situation will improve within the next 3 years.

Perhaps this summer's anticipated heat wave could improve the situation. When Hays asked the emigrated professionals why they left Ireland, 14 per cent cited the weather. A desire to live in a warmer climate was particularly evident amongst accountants, 26 per cent of whom admitted climate had influenced their decision to move abroad.

The survey highlighted a disparity in the reasons people move from Ireland. As well as moving for the weather, accountancy professionals sought a better work-life balance and lifestyle. Conversely, IT individuals were motivated to go for bigger salaries and to develop their career. For the most part, construction workers moved purely to get a job.

“The attraction of a warmer climate is always going to exist for accountants and other global qualification holders. However, it’s critical Ireland gives talented workers who have emigrated something to come back for - more jobs, competitive salaries and an improved economic situation” said Eardley. 

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About Hays:

Hays plc, the leading global specialist recruitment group, is the market leader in the UK and Australia, and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe.

As at 31 December 2010, the Group employed 7,086 staff operating from 257 offices in 30 countries across 17 specialisms.

For the year ended 30 June 2010:

– the Group reported net fees of £557.7 million and operating profit before exceptional items of £80.5 million;

– the Group placed around 50,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 180,000 people into temporary assignments;

– 26% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 30% in Continental Europe & RoW and 44% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;

– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees; and

– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, USA and the United Kingdom 

For further press information or to set up an interview please contact:

Tom McEnaney
M. 087 222  2666


Elena Rogova, Hays
T. 01 897 2481
M. 085 803 1199