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Press Statement


14 December 2017

Profile 11 - Employment, Occupations and Industry

Census 2016 Results Logo

2,006,641 people at work in Ireland in April 2016

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (Thursday 14th December) publishes the final Census 2016 (thematic) report, Profile 11 – Employment, Occupations and Industry. 

Profile 11 shows that the number of people at work in Ireland in April 2016 increased to just over 2 million (+11.0%) since 2011. The numbers of people looking after the home/family continued to decline, falling by 10.1% to 305,556 while the numbers of retired persons increased to 545,407, up 88,013 (19.2%).

Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician, commented: ”This report analyses the world of work in Ireland in 2016, with a particular focus on changes in the numbers at work by occupations and industrial sectors. It also looks at the profile of the non-Irish national population in the workforce. Profile 11 completes the suite of Census 2016 results which has included two summary reports, eleven detailed reports and Small Area Population Statistics. Together, these results provide a comprehensive picture of Ireland in April 2016. All of this data is now available on the CSO website.” 

Today’s full report is available on the CSO website at Census 2016 Profile 11 - Employment Occupations and Industry

Highlights from Profile 11 – Employment, Occupations and Industry 

Labour force
The 2,304,037 people in the labour force in April 2016 represented an increase of 71,834 (3.2%) on April 2011. The substantial increase in retired persons (up 19.2% to 545,407) has impacted on the labour force participation rate, which fell to 61.4%.

Employment increases, unemployment declines
There were 2,006,641 people at work in Ireland in April 2016, compared with 1,807,360 five years previously, an increase of 199,281 (11.0%) over the period.

The unemployment rate as measured by the Census was 12.9%, down from 19.0% in April 2011. Female unemployment stood at 12.0%, while the rate among males was 13.7%. The number of unemployed males fell by over 100,000 (37.7%) between 2011 and 2016, while the number of unemployed females fell by 24,050 (16.0%).

Youth unemployment
The youth unemployment rate (the number of unemployed 15 to 24 year olds expressed as a percentage of the youth labour force) was 25.6%, down from 38.7% in April 2011. The number of unemployed youths fell by 34,125 or 41.5%.

Employment changes in industrial sectors
 IT activities showed the largest increase, rising by 21,262 (almost 56.0%) to reach 59,376 in 2016. This was followed by Residential care and social work activities which showed a 24.0% rise from 82,900 to 102,700.

The largest decreases were in Financial service activities down from 54,027 to 46,674 in 2016 and in Public administration, down nearly 5,000 to 83,687. 

Top Occupations in 2016
Today’s release provides details of the numbers at work classified by 328 separate categories.

The category of Sales and retail assistants, cashiers and checkout operators was the top occupational group with 90,746 persons. Farmers were the next largest occupation group, accounting for 3.5% of the work force, or 69,375 workers. The next largest category was Other administrative occupations with 59,392 workers. Nurses and midwives accounted for 53,910 workers, or 2.7% of the work force.

The category of Other administrative occupations saw the largest increase between 2011 and 2016, rising from 47,465 to 59,392 workers.  The group with the second largest increase was Programmers and software development professionals, which grew by 6,873 to 20,113 workers.

Non-Irish nationals in employment and unemployed
There were 347,233 non-Irish nationals in the labour force in April 2016, with a participation rate of 73.9%. Between 2011 and 2016 the number of non-Irish people at work increased by 9.6% to 293,830 persons, while the number of non-Irish nationals out of work decreased by 31.0%, from 77,460 to 53,403 persons.

Looking at recent immigrants, 47,651 of the 82,346 persons who arrived to live in Ireland in the year prior to Census 2016 were non-Irish nationals. Among the Irish group, the labour force participation rate was 76.8%, while among the non-Irish nationals it was 67.4%. This lower participation rate can in part be attributed to higher numbers of students among this group, with almost 22.0% being students compared with just over 10.0% of Irish immigrants.

In terms of where these recent immigrants worked, almost 5,000 were working in the Accommodation and food service sector, 4,070 of whom were non-Irish nationals.  The next largest sector was Information and communication activities with 4,300 people at work; over 77% of these were non-Irish nationals. In the Construction sector, where 2,323 recent immigrants were working, Irish nationals dominated accounting for 66.6%.

Editor's Note:
  • Profile 11 – Employment, Occupations and Industry is the 13th and final report from Census 2016 (11 profile reports and two summary reports). All of the reports are available at The reports include a range of interactive web tables, which allow users to build their own tables by selecting the data they are interested in and downloading them in an easy to use format for their own analysis.  
  • In co-operation with the All Ireland Research Observatory (AIRO) at NUI Maynooth, summary census data is available in thematic maps for Electoral Districts and all Small Areas on the AIRO website. This can be accessed via the link on the CSO website.
  • The CSO and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) have also launched a new Open Data website which makes the Census 2016 Small Area Population Statistics (SAPS) available as geographical Open Data for the first time. Census 2016 results across 15 themes, including sex, age and marital status; families; the Irish language, and, education can be visualised in map form across 31 Administrative Counties, 95 Municipal Districts, 3,409 Electoral Divisions and 18,641 Small Areas. The new website is part of OSi’s GeoHive platform ( and is available at
  • The results of the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) provide the basis for the official series of quarterly labour force estimates. The labour force and its constituent figures shown in this report are directly based on the census. Users should be aware that information derived from identical questions in the census and QNHS for the same year may show appreciable differences. The main categories affected are the constituents of the question on principal economic status and the employment estimates classified by industry and occupation. For further information, see Appendix 2 of the report. 
  • The labour force comprises persons aged 15 and over who are employed, looking for a first job, or unemployed. The percentage of people aged 15 and over who participate in the labour force - as opposed to having another status such as student, retired or homemaker - is known as the labour force participation rate. It is measured as the number in the labour force (at work or unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15 and over. 
  • The term industry used for Census of Population purposes is not confined to manufacturing industry. It is synonymous with the term “sector of economic activity”. The basis of the industrial classification is, in the case of employees, the business or profession of their employer and in the case of self-employed persons, the nature of their own business or profession. In Census 2016; industry is coded using NACE – the General Industrial Classification of Economic Activities within the European Communities. For further information, see Appendix 2 of the report.
  • The entire population was classified to one of ten specific socio-economic groups (introduced in 1996). In addition, a residual group entitled. “All others gainfully occupied and unknown” was used where sufficient details were not provided. The classification aims to bring together persons with similar social and economic statuses on the basis of the level of skill or educational attainment required. In defining socio-economic group no attempt is made to rank groups in order of socio-economic importance. For further information, see Appendix 2 of the report
  • The entire population is also classified into one of seven social class groups (introduced in 1996) which are defined on the basis of occupation. The occupations included in each of these groups have been selected in such a way as to bring together, as far as possible, people with similar levels of occupational skill. In determining social class no account is taken of the differences between individuals on the basis of other characteristics such as education. Accordingly social class ranks occupations by the level of skill required on a social class scale ranging from 1 (highest) to 7 (lowest). For further information, see Appendix 2 of the report.
  • The census figures relate to the de facto population, i.e. the population recorded for each area represents the total of all persons present within its boundaries on the night of Sunday, 24 April 2016, together with all persons who arrived in that area on the morning of Monday, 25 April 2016, not having been enumerated elsewhere. Persons on board ships in port are included with the population of adjacent areas. The figures, therefore, include visitors present on Census Night as well as those in residence, while usual residents temporarily absent from the area are excluded.
  • The de facto measure of the population in April 2016 was 4,761,865 while the usually resident total was 4,689,921 - a difference of 71,944 or 1.5%. The usually resident measure is used when analysing topics such as commuting patterns, nationality and households and families. 
For further information contact:

Brendan Murphy (+353) 1 895 1305 or Census Enquiries (+353) 1 895 1460

or email

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