Amidst zero hour contracts, rental shortages and lack of opportunity young Irish workers are struggling in Ireland's current economic climate. With that in mind, many will be surprised to hear that Irish workers are the most overqualified in Europe.
According to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) Irish workers are the most overqualified in the European Union for the jobs they are currently working in. Figures show that one in three is an international educational level above their occupation. The figure is twice that of countries such as Finland, Sweden, and France.
Parents are being blamed for their 'obsession' of sending school leavers to university with Moriarty believing parents have "misplaced snobbery" towards education: “Students’ aptitudes should determine their learning pathway, rather than an automatic assumption that they should go to third-level”. Moriarty believes apprenticeships are changing and there's specific growth in insurance and marketing that parents are not aware of.
According to The Irish Times, over 60% of Leaving Cert students progress to third-level education, one of the highest in the EU. Michael Moriarty, General Secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland, who believes that too many people are attending third-level and suspects many students “shouldn’t be there at all in the first place”.
On the other hand, Dr. Graham Love, the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, believes the high figures should be celebrated as higher education goes “well beyond preparing people for jobs” and that being "overeducated" is beneficial to people later in their careers.
Expert in employment policy Tony Donohue, Ibec’s Head of Education and Social Policy, believe that avenues should be created to provide young people with avenues outside of traditional academia:
Traditionally, Irish society has placed too much value on the traditional academic model of attainment, which doesn’t serve all young people well...We should equip students for what can be a long journey to rewarding employment and fulfilling lives in a future environment whose demands we can neither anticipate nor predict.