News & Events

Next Phase of Ireland’s economic development – Future Jobs Programme

Emphasis on quality jobs, improving productivity and building resilience 

Interdepartmental Group developing plan, which will be launched in January 2019

Major Jobs Summit to be held in November

The Cabinet has agreed to the development of a new cross Government strategy aimed at the next phase of Ireland’s economic development - Future Jobs Programme.

The economic turnaround over the past six years has been remarkable. Unemployment has fallen from a high of 16% to 5.1% with almost 360,000 new jobs created since 2012.  Forecast growth for 2018 is 5.6%, driven by record exports and underpinned by solid domestic demand.

It is this very success and pace of growth which is putting pressures on certain parts of the economy. We are also operating in an uncertain environment – with Brexit as well as developments in international trade and taxation. We also face challenges as the pace of technology impacts on jobs, business models and sectors.

The Future Jobs Programme aims to deliver the required policy reforms through cross-government commitment and engagement with business and the wider community. It is about building resilience into our economy and taking steps to prepare for the challenges we face.

Future Jobs will set out long term ambitions for the future of the economy, taking account of these challenges, then translate these into specific short-term actions which can be taken on an annual basis, starting in 2019.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, said:

“Ireland is approaching full employment, with more people at work than ever before and employment growth in every part of the country. When we had high unemployment the focus simply had to be on job creation of all forms. Now that we’re approaching full employment we need to be a bit smarter and a bit more strategic. We want to create the jobs of the future, jobs that will be around in 20 years’ time, jobs which pay well and offer employment security.

 “That’s where the Future Jobs Programme comes in. We’re working on this right across Government and will be consulting directly with stakeholders for their views on Future Jobs at a special summit in November. The final policy will be formally launched in January.

“The strategy will also look at how we can make sure that every single part of Ireland benefits and also how we can raise productivity, particularly among SMEs and Irish-owned companies, where we have some catching up to do. And I’m especially keen that it focuses on new technologies as part of our transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said:

“As we all know, the Action Plan for Jobs has served us very well and we have made enormous progress in recent years. The Future Jobs programme is about looking to the future and ensuring the hard-won gains of recent years and the progress we have made is sustained for the long term.

 “It’s about anticipating changes we know are coming in terms of technology and automation and how that will impact on existing jobs. It’s also about improving productivity and innovation, particularly amongst our SMEs, and preparing for the challenges facing us such as Brexit and international tax changes.

 “In the context of near-full employment, Future Jobs 2019 will focus on the quality, sustainability and productivity of jobs as distinct from job numbers.

 “An inter-departmental group has been established to advance the plan. As part of this process, a special Future Jobs summit event will be held in November, which will bring together the various stakeholders, as well as national and international experts.

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said:

 “While the economy is performing well at present, there are clear challenges in both the domestic and external environments. As such, it will be important for us to strengthen our resilience and preparedness to respond quickly and comprehensively to this changing environment.

“The Future Jobs Programme will provide a cross-governmental framework in which to consider these challenges and to set out necessary reforms in areas such as skills, innovation, participation and productivity.

“The Government is committed to continued economic growth and ensuring the positive trends in the labour market are maintained.  We will continue to implement active labour policies and work to safeguard the gains in competitiveness made in recent years.”

The Departments of an Taoiseach and Business, Enterprise and Innovation, will lead the development of the next phase of Ireland’s economic development: Future Jobs 2019. A National Summit will be held in November that will bring together national and international leading thinkers and practitioners to inform priorities.

The overarching goal is to deepen the resilience of Ireland’s economy for years to come.  Building on the successful cross-government approach it will be ambitious, focused and impactful.