Unemployment Rates: How Low Can We Go?

Over the past couple of years the signs of Ireland’s recovery following the economic crisis have been increasingly positive. One important cornerstone of recovery is of course employment. Previously, we saw a situation in which there was an increasing rate of unemployment and an increase in qualified people seeking employment on other shores or taking on unpaid work they were overqualified for on our own shores in a desperate attempt to seek stable employment. This is a situation that both employers and workers would be loath to recreate.

In recent months, the unemployment rate in Ireland has been dropping at a steady rate which shows positive movement for Ireland’s continuing recovery, even in the wake of the Brexit panic. In June, the unemployment rate continued its downward trend going from May’s figure of 6.4% to 6.3%, which is a significant positive movement over the course of one month. Over the twelve months between June 2016 and June 2017 however, this figure has dropped from 8.3% to 6.3% according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) report.

In terms of actual figures, the unemployment rate has dropped by 42,100 people over the course of one year which is of course a move in the right direction for all. EMEA economist for Indeed, Mariano Mamertino has been quoted as saying that the Irish unemployment rate is on track to fall below 6%:

“Ireland remains on a clear trajectory for unemployment to fall below 6pc in the coming months, which bodes well in terms of the likelihood of increased consumer spending and retails sales as more people take home a weekly pay cheque.”

This, of course is encouraging news for all businesses particularly those in the retail sector who are expected to see an increase in business in the coming months. The unemployment rate in Ireland remains lower than some EU countries, but is moving in the right direction for recovery.

Naturally, the swift and continuing downward movement of the unemployment rate causes some minor concerns as Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has stated his concern over the possibility of more jobs being available than there are workers to fill them in the future. In his opinion, the unemployment rate looks likely to fall below 5.5% which would be both an “extraordinary achievement” and a cause for concern as it would be possible Ireland would “experience capacity constraints.” It has however been stated that this is merely a potential situation and not one that is envisioned to come to pass, so we can carry on celebrating the continuing recovery of our economy

Should you require any help, guidance or information on these or any other financial and business matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.


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We have spoken many times about being a business owner or entrepreneur in Ireland today. Equally, and sometimes even more importantly for the day to day running of any company are its employees. This week we will focus on being an employee or job seeker in this country at the present time. Following the economic crisis, becoming full-time employed in Ireland became somewhat of a minefield with schemes like the JobBridge scheme offering training in new areas but effectively closing off a large section of previously available paid positions. Likewise, college graduates who were unfortunate enough to finish their studies just as the crisis occurred, may have found their new qualifications of little use. Naturally, we then saw a mass exodus of young workers seeking to utilise their skills on other shores.


Now that our economic situation has begun to improve, the question arises about the satisfaction of workers in Ireland. The 2016 LinkedIn Talent Trends report seeks to outline what it truly means to be a worker in Ireland. The report suggests that job seeking remains somewhat of an issue with the biggest roadblocks facing jobseekers including being offered incorrect roles by agencies, whilst not having full awareness of what the job entails is cited as another major issue. This calls into question whether our interview and job posting system is adequate enough for finding the right candidate. LinkedIn’s senior HR director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Wendy Murphy has stated that

“67% of Irish professionals say that culture and values are the most important thing they want to know about a company”.


Again, information which is difficult to ascertain by using our current system.


Interestingly, Ireland is among few countries where the fact remains that the people you know are important in gaining access to many areas of employment with 40% of people quizzed stating that they gained their current position through someone they know.


Finally, it would seem that Irish workers are quite an ambitious group with this report finding that 45% of people left jobs due to a lack of available career advancement, whilst 40% admit to leaving in order to find a more challenging position.


In terms of what this report may mean going forward, rather than turning back on our existing employment methods, the recruitment website LinkedIn have stated that Ireland should embrace this method of gaining access to positions through people you know at the company. According to LinkedIn companies should harness this notion and inform current employees of vacancies when they go live in order for existing employees to become ‘brand ambassadors’ and bring new talent to the company.


Should you have any queries or require any guidance on your own employment quest and finances, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants where we will be happy to help you on your business journey.


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In the wake of the recent and much publicized dispute between Dunnes workers and management, the notion of mandatory union recognition in Ireland has once again be raised. Some have suggested that this could be the answer to this and similar disputes in the future, whilst others have pointed to ways in which this change in employment legislation could have devastating effects for Irish SMEs.

As recently as just this week, SIPTU General Secretary Jack O’Connor walked off the ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’ show whilst live on air, demonstrating that this issue remains a hotly contested one. With these recent disputes in mind, this topic could well see itself forming part of the proposed election plan for some parties. As such, it is vital to be informed of what such a change in legislation could mean for you and your business. The implications of mandatory union recognition for employers who do not currently recognise unions could be far reaching.

The trade union movement are naturally already pushing hard for recognition, meaning that this legislation could very well come into place during the next general election. The major issue for businesses in Ireland, particularly SME’s is that no one really knows ahead of time what effect this could have on doing business in Ireland, so should we really be willing to take this risk?

Currently it is a matter for each individual employer to decide if they recognise trade unions in the workplace. At present, employers are under no legal obligationto do so. Many employers – from SMEs to major businesses choose to deal with their employees directly on a contract-to-contract basis and without the involvement of trade unions. Some have felt so strongly about this issue that they have taken to the courts in an effort to avoid mandatory union recognition.

The Irish constitution states only that citizens have the right to form associations and unions, and allows for employers to choose not to recognise these associations. Due to this entry in our constitution, legislation to provide for compulsory trade union recognition has until now been considered to be an unconstitutional notion.

During the much-publicized Ryanair dispute of 2007, Mr. Justice Geoghegan stated that:

“As a matter of law, Ryanair is perfectly entitled not to deal with trade unions nor can a law be passed compelling them to do so. There is an obvious danger however in a non-unionised company that employees may be exploited and may have to submit to what most reasonable people would consider to be grossly unfair terms and conditions of employment.”

This, in a similar manner to the wording of the entry in our constitution is vague, and merely offers both employee and employer the option to choose whether or not to engage with trade unions. Many have recently pointed to this as being the very reason that foreign businesses are so attracted to business in Ireland, the fear being that if we lose this USP, will we also lose their business? It has been widely argued that our current model allows for greater flexibility in dealing with employment disputes.

In 2013, then IBEC director Brendan McGinty stated that: “Mandatory trade union recognition would not create a single job in this economy and would instead threaten many thousands of jobs by damaging our capacity to attract and retain inward investment. Mandatory union recognition would only put off companies that are considering investing in the country and would act as a barrier to job creation.”

This is a topic that is bound to remain controversial and will divide opinions greatly. For SME’s in particular the notion of having to add compulsory trade union recognition to already full basket of responsibilities on a low budget is bound to be threatening.

With a looming general election there will be a barrage of arguments from both sides of this argument, but many remain wary of compulsory union recognition.

If you feel that this might be a damaging move for your own company, we would suggest talking to your local representative about any proposed legislation.


What does the Government’s latest Action Plan for Jobs promise to your business?


In this day and age, it’s easy to be cynical about much trumpeted Government initiatives, especially ones promising increased employment. But as JobBridge showed, for better or worse, these top-down programmes have the potential to change the market dramatically. So parsing the Government’s latest action plan for jobs in search of reforms that will affect your business is a pretty worthwhile exercise.


The third instalment in the Government plan contains 385 actions to be spread across all 16 Government Departments and 46 Agencies. Not all of these are directly relevant to domestic businesspeople, of course, as a good chunk of Government effort is still focused on attracting and retaining Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).


Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Fortunately, however, the Government has realised that two thirds of all new jobs in recent years have been created by start-up businesses. Some of these might seem superficial – a county based public competition to find the best entrepreneur in Ireland – but a budget of €2m in funding for awards is nothing to be sniffed at.


31 new Local Enterprise Offices are also promised to drive start-ups across the country, along with the introduction of an Entrepreneurial PhD programme to train Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) scientists to launch their own businesses. Looking to the longer term, the Government has also pledged a review of tax supports for entrepreneurs to see if they can be improved or simplified


Competitiveness and Manufacturing

Companies facing a squeeze from labour and other costs can also take some heart from the plan, as improved competitiveness has also been targeted. Aside from a new system of reporting to Cabinet on competitiveness issues, the Government has promised concrete action on manpower issues. This includes the provision of 6,000 Momentum placements to enhance skills – if you’re an education or training provider, the scheme is something you can check out here. For employers in the service sector or other lower-wage industries, the rollout of new reformed Workplace relations structures should also be a major boost. Meanwhile, a set of new measures have been rolled out to support productivity improvements and higher levels of R&D in manufacturing businesses.



As any businessperson will tell you, the finance to reach sustainable profitability is one of the most important ingredients for success, but many find it extremely difficult to obtain from banks. If you’re likely to be looking for finance in the next year or two, though, the latest action plan offers some hope. The Government has promised more new non-bank sources of lending to SMEs, adding to €2bn already available, including new working capital products for exporters and a retail mini bonds market via the Irish Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, the Department of Finance has pledged to monitor new bank lending to SMEs on a monthly basis to bring added scrutiny.


There are a smattering of other measures – Regional Enterprise Strategies, proposals for a successor to the National Spatial Strategy, new supports in sectors such as Agriculture/Food, ICT and Tourism – that won’t apply to everyone, and a few that are vague. It remains to be seen, for example, whether the Year of Irish Design 2015 brings any momentum to the design and crafts sector in the medium term. But some items in the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 are genuinely exciting and worth checking out. If you would like an initial no-obligation meeting to discuss opportunities that the plan may present, or your own unique business needs, simply contact us.