Following the financial crash of 2008 employment in Ireland took a massive hit. The country has gone from a situation where there was almost full employment to a current situation where almost 10% of the workforce is unemployed and seeking state benefits. While job opportunities are on the increase, times are still tough and finding meaningful employment can be difficult.


People with European citizenship can travel to Ireland for work purposes once they hold a valid EU state passport. A working visa however and temporary residency card is required for people who visit Ireland from outside of Europe for work purposes. There are nine different types of visa/employment permits, with the most common listed below in more detail:

  1. General Employment Permit: These are general permits for workers who expect to earn over €30,000 per annum.
  2. Critical Skills Employment Permit: These are permits for those workers expecting to earn over €60,000 per annum.
  3. Dependant Partner/Spouse Employment Permit: These permits are for the spouse or partner of someone who has been granted a Critical skills employment permit.
  4. Contract for Services Employment Permits: These permits allow non-European contract workers to work in Ireland for a fixed period of time once their employment contract remains outside the state.

Students who are studying in a registered Irish university or college and who would require a working permit under ordinary circumstances may work up to 20 hours a week on a casual basis without an employment permit.

In general application for a working permit costs between €500 and €1000 depending on the nature of the permit sought. An appeals tribunal is open to hearing appeals for those who apply with an unsuccessful outcome.


If you are a qualified professional applying for a skilled job it is worth noting that certain foreign obtained qualifications are not recognised in Ireland. It is worth contacting the Qualifications Recognition Authority to ascertain if your qualification is recognised in Irish industry. An example of where this problem may occur would be the likes of a lawyer who studied law in the United States coming to Ireland with the appropriate permit only to find they cannot practice law in Ireland due to regulatory issues.

The Irish Job Market

There is increased demand for workers in Ireland in the financial services, pharmaceutical, service and technology industries. However demand for engineering, construction workers and manual labour workers is limited.

Many young professionals struggle to find employment due to their lack of experience in an increasingly competitive job market where older professionals are willing to work a lot harder for a lot less reward.

Job Location

Ireland is a nation of commuters. It is hard to find a job outside of major towns and cities. There are always job vacancies in larger cities such as Dublin or Cork. Finding a job in other locations may prove more difficult.

Tips for successful job hunting


Ireland is a small tightly knit nation. Securing a job is often more about who you know rather than what you may necessarily know. Networking in Ireland is therefore incredibly important and there are many free networking events and opportunities. Local enterprise offices run networking events on a regular basis, most of which are usually free to attend. This provides people looking for jobs and opportunities in specific industries an opportunity to meet with like minded people.

Large companies such as Google, Intel and Facebook which have their EMEA headquarters in Ireland hold breakfast networking mornings on a monthly basis. Many jobs in Ireland are not widely advertised and the only way to hear about such opportunities is to know someone who is in the know!

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Online Applications

Most publically advertised jobs in Ireland are posted online. Websites like and offer an easy to use job search system where users can refine search results according to their specific needs and experience. LinkedIn’s onsite job search tool is also a popular recruitment resource in Ireland. Most professionals have a LinkedIn profile, and it is widely expected for employees to keep this profile up to date and current.


If you work in a specific area, if you are a highly skilled worker or are looking for an executive job it may be worth your while seeking the help of a professional recruiter. Most recruiters have specific areas of expertise. Recruiters are usually happy to meet with you to discuss your ideal job and add you to their database of qualified individuals. Employers approach recruiters directly with their requirements and the recruiter will then match people in their pool of qualified candidates to the job on offer.

CV Drop

If you are applying for basic service jobs in the retail or hospitality sector it is worth printing a bunch of CV’s and hitting the high streets or shopping centres. This is very common practice in Ireland. It is important to demonstrate that you have previous experience in the sector or industry. Asking to see the manager is advisable when taking this approach as the manager is the decision maker with the power to employ you. Most service industries have regular seasonal employment.

Interning and Volunteering

Interning and volunteering can be a hard but rewarding experience. These are good ways to fill out your CV if you feel that there is an obvious lack of experience in specific areas. Often people who volunteer or complete an internship with a company or organisation are offered permanent paid work at the end of their placement.

Most employers expect you to submit your CV along with a one page cover letter via email when applying for a job. It is advisable to keep your CV relatively short and sweet – no longer than two pages. If an employer is interested in your application and think you may be a suitably qualified applicant they will usually ask you to meet them for an informal chat, or they may interview you by telephone or Skype. Second interviews are quite common in Ireland. If you are offered a second interview it usually means that there are only 2 or 3 others in the running for the job.