Nearly 8% with jobs are 'working poor'
on 14/01/2013 00:00:00
The European Commission recently noted that just 12% of those unemployed in Ireland at the end of 2011 were previously employed in managerial, technical or professional backgrounds. This means that most of the unemployed are too underqualified to get jobs in the hi-tech sector.
According to Social Justice Ireland, if the Government wants to seriously tackle the country's 14.8% unemployment rate, it needs to develop:
nprimary care facilities across the country;
na nationwide hi-speed broadband network;
na water system investment programme;
nthe retrofitting of local authority social housing and a school building programme.
Up to 60% of the unemployed are now long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for two years or more.
"This suggests, as the Commission has said, that the focus of current measures does not match the skills profile of many unemployed and long-term unemployed people. This is something that is highlighted further by rising vacancy levels showing a mismatch between the demand in sectors that are growing and the skills/education of unemployed people," said Social Justice Ireland director, Seán Healy.
Fr Healy said austerity is running counter to a Europe 2020 Strategy which aimed to minimise the effects of the recession on the more vulnerable people.
Ireland has the 12th highest poverty rate in the 27 EU countries, with almost 16 out of every 100 people in Ireland living in poverty.
"Government policy is having a negative impact on people on low incomes and Budget 2013 has simply made this situation worse. It is essential that both the Irish Government and the EU protect the most vulnerable who have already been disproportionately affected by the current crisis," he said.
Ireland's own National Reform Programme was also studied by Social Justice Ireland. The review revealed that "it is highly unlikely that sufficient market-based jobs will emerge in the short-to-medium term to provide the necessary positions that would substantially reduce unemployment".
The charity welcomed the Government decision to exempt low-paid, part-time and seasonal workers on less than €10,036 from the Universal Social Charge.