The table below – Table 1 – contains the number and percentage of vacancies by occupational group, ranked in order of the percentage of vacancies to employment, taken from the most recently published – 1999 – ESRI national survey of private sector vacancies. It shows that there were 53,000 vacancies, equivalent to 6% of the vacancy-to-employment ratio at the time of the survey in Autumn 1998. This table indicates that the greatest proportionate vacancies were among computer engineers and professionals and associate professionals. Another very significant category of vacancy was skilled maintenance and production workers – craftspersons.
Where firms had difficult-to-fill vacancies they were asked which was the single type of vacancy most difficult to fill. The most commonly cited occupational group was skilled tradespersons – 21% – with clerical – 11% – the next most commonly mentioned. This number one ranking for skilled tradespersons applied to both traditional and high-tech manufacturing and to both large and small firms in these sectors. However, in large high-tech manufacturing firms, engineers – 20% – managers – 15% –and computer specialists – 11% – were also frequently ranked as most difficult-to-fill. Computer specialists were the most difficult to fill for finance/ insurance/business services companies.
Table 1: Number & Percentage of Vacancies by Occupational Group