We must identify the jobs and skills of the future for continued growth – Lyons

Date published: 16 March 2022

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has welcomed the publication of the updated Northern Ireland Skills Barometer.

Northern Ireland Skills Barometer

The Barometer was commissioned by the Department for the Economy to provide a better understanding of the future skills needs across the local economy and is produced by economists in Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre. 

Speaking after the publication, the Minister said:

“I welcome the publication of the latest Skills Barometer from Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre. As set out in my consultation on the new Skills Strategy – ‘Skills for a 10X Economy’ - this research provides us with an up-to-date assessment of the future skills needed in our economy and remains central to our evidence base. The Barometer clearly illustrates that investment in skills is worthwhile, leading to better employment prospects and higher earnings.”

The Minister added: 

“The Barometer outlines some clear challenges, for example, how demographic trends will create labour supply challenges over the coming decade and in doing so underpins the need for one of my key skills policy objectives to ‘create a culture of lifelong learning’. It also provides clear evidence on the digital skills challenge which we must address urgently to ensure our people and businesses can reach their potential. My officials are continuing to work with the experts from the Economic Policy Centre, representatives of business, trade unions and education institutions to ensure we develop a skills system matched to the needs of a globally competitive small advanced economy.

“Addressing the skills imbalances is key to driving economic growth and delivering on our societal ambitions. We must ensure people are equipped to meet the changing demands of the labour market now, and in the future, as we strive to become one of the leading small economies of the world. I am confident the latest edition of the Skills Barometer will help people to make career and subject choices and in turn assist businesses as we build the pathway to a 10X economy.”

Introducing the research, Mark Magill, Senior Economist at Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC) said:

“The Skills Barometer is one of UUEPC’s flagship publications. The 2021 update is the fourth Skills Barometer publication and the demand for education and skills information remains very high. It has been heartening to see the research being widely used to help guide policy, to inform careers guidance, shape curriculum design and used for strategy development by business organisations.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The previous three iterations of the Northern Ireland Skills Barometer were published in 2019, 2017 and 2015.

2. Details of the Skills Barometer are available on the DfE website

3. To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:

4. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk

5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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