Mind the Gap

We’ve all been through a hard few years in relation to… dare i say it… the recession. Businesses closing at a marathon rate, people left unemployed, redundant or involuntarily retired and graduates basically told to leave the country!


Now, unemployment figures are at a 7 year low in the UK and Ireland isn’t far behind. But now skill shortages are being reported and HR and recruiters’ alike are finding it more difficult to recruit suitable candidates than in the previous month.

But where are those fresh young faced professionals crawling out of college.. Australia, Canada.. and now we find ourselves in a situation where the people who could really benefit the economy is the brain drain generation and well their visas haven’t expired yet.

The home office (UK) researched the link between emigration and skills shortage. The study revealed a large proportion of British citizens that emigrate are of professional or managerial occupations and as a result has future implications for the availability of skills.

This professional group accounts for almost 48% of British citizens that emigrated, with a year on year rise since the start of the global recession in 2008. Some reasons behind emigration were definite jobs and job security.

In relation to Ireland, ONE IN FOUR rural households (ROI) have seen someone emigrate since the economic crash, according to a major new study into emigration. As well as the urban/rural divide, the UCC research found definite evidence that brain drain is the most highly educated choosing to leave the country.  While 47 per cent of people aged between 25 and 34 have a third level qualification, the figure shoots up to 62 per cent when it comes to recent Irish emigrants.

In one perhaps unexpected finding, researchers at University College Cork found that almost half of the people leaving were not unemployed, but were stuck in dead-end and poorly-paid jobs with limited prospects.

However, the economy is showing signs of sustained recovery and job creation has been increasing year on year, month by month. With unemployment falling rapidly and most of our young professional on Bondi Beach, Where does this leave the recruitment industry?

We are now experiencing skill shortages, while these gaps were suppressed in the recession, its coming down the tunnel and employers are finding it difficult to source suitably qualified professionals. PSCo says that recent OECD figures which show that almost 1.3 million Britons with university level education are now living abroad will add to the skill shortage issue and we could be facing a serious problem. Could the recruitment sector overheat?

Brain drain contributes to shortage of skills in the market and represents a loss of resources, to curb brain drain in a country with major concerns by improving labour-market conditions locally. Experience has shown that the best way to prevent brain drain is to provide incentives to stay, rather than by imposing coercive measures to prevent emigration.

In a more mobile world, we are competing for jobs globally. Strategies and incentives for young professionals are needed to entice them home and aid the growth within both the Irish and UK Market.

So where does that leave us… Will the recruitment sector overheat, demand outgrow supply? Or will this happen naturally, as the economy builds up again, will these professionals come flooding back or is beaches and sunshine too much to leave behind?






**figures sourced from OECD, University College Cork & the journal & OnREC ** 


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