In recent months the team at AIRO have been working with colleagues at the Western Development Commission on the development of a new report on ‘Travel to Work Labour Catchments in the Western Region: A Profile of Seven Town Labour Catchments 2018’. 

In this publication, we draw on Census 2016 POWCAR data to examine the travel to work patterns in centres with a population greater than 1,000 across the Western Region.

The full report provides an overview of the travel to work analysis, identifies the 42 labour catchments, and provides an overview of change between 2006 and 2016.  It contains the detailed labour market profile of the principal towns in each of the seven counties of the Western Region (Galway, Ennis, Sligo, Letterkenny, Castlebar, Roscommon and Carrick-on-Shannon).

The seven individual reports contain the labour market profile of each of the principal towns.

Download the documents here: http://www.wdc.ie/publications/reports-and-papers/

Key Findings from the report:

  • Analysis of the profile of the labour catchments of the principal town in each county in the Western Region highlights the labour supply available. All the town labour catchments reviewed have significantly more people at work than the Census population at work for that town and have therefore access to a larger labour supply. For example, Galway city labour catchment has a population at work more than double the Census population of resident workers, while Carrick-on-Shannon labour catchment has a population at work approximately 4.6 times the Census population of resident workers.
  • Compared to a decade earlier, there has been little change in the geographic and population size of the labour catchments. The seven county town labour catchments account for an increase of only 0.5% in the total share of the total population at work and residing in the Western Region. This shows the limited change that has occurred over a long period and the need for very strong policy intervention to effect change
  • In terms of ranking, the Sligo town labour catchment (21,834) is now slightly larger than the Ennis labour catchment (21,409), ranked second and third respectively in the number of resident workers in 2016.
  • Nationally and across the Western Region the age profile of the working population has been increasing and there has been a decrease in the rate of young workers (aged less than 30 years). Within the county town catchments, both Letterkenny (17%) and the Galway City (16.8%) catchment have by far the highest rates of young workers while Carrick-on-Shannon catchment recorded the lowest rate of workers aged less than 30 years (12.8%).
  • One of the most significant changes in the socio-economic profile of workers over the last decade is the rate of third level educational attainment. Within the seven county town catchments, Galway City has by far the highest rate at 61.3%, up from 49% in 2006. The Roscommon town catchment recorded the lowest rate in 2016 – 49%, up from 32.9% a decade earlier.
  • While the presence of a higher education institution is a factor in relatively higher rates of third level educational attainment, it is by no means the only factor. For example the Galway, Sligo and Ennis labour catchments have a rate of third level educational attainment of 54% or higher. The catchments of Castlebar (50.4%) and Letterkenny (51.6%) have lower rates, indicating that the range and quality of employment opportunities is also a key factor.
  • Employment by industrial group in each of the seven labour catchments shows some similarities and differences compared to the national average. Within the Western Region, both the ‘Wholesale, Retail Trade’ (25.8%) and ‘Education, Human Health and Social Work Activities’ (25.4%) are the largest employers. The third most important sector is ‘Manufacturing Industries’ (15.9%).
  • Across the State the most important sectors in terms of the share employed are ‘Wholesale, Retail & Trade etc’ (25.7%), followed by ‘ICT and Professional Services etc’ (20.3%) and then ‘Education, Human Health and Social Work Activities’ (22.8%).
  • The industry of employment trend in the Western Region is broadly reflected across the seven county labour catchments with the top three employers similar to the regional average. Of particular interest are the much lower rates employed in the ‘ICT and Professional Services’4 sector across the Western Region, compared to nationally where significant growth in employment occurred between 2011 and 2016 in Ireland (CSO Census 2016). The only exception to this is in the Letterkenny labour catchment where the ‘ICT and Professional Services’ sector is the third largest employer.
  • The ‘Education, Human Health and Social’ sector is the largest employer in the Galway City, Sligo town, Letterkenny, Castlebar and Roscommon town labour catchments. This is in part due to the presence of third level institutions and hospitals in each of these towns, but is also likely to reflect the relative weakness of the commerce and manufacturing sectors in terms of employment. It also highlights the relative importance of public sector employment.
  • The socio-economic group (SEG) is determined by occupation and employment status and aims to classify those on the basis of comparable skill and educational levels. This is useful indicating the type of employment and skills available within labour catchments and is particularly informative when compared to the national socio-economic structure.
  • The socio-economic structure of the seven labour catchments is broadly similar to that of the State and are ranked in the following order of importance; Non-manual, Lower Professional, Employers & Managers, Semi-skilled and Higher Professionals.
  • North-east Donegal is strongly linked to Northern Ireland. This ‘Derry Rural’ labour catchment is the 13th largest in the Western Region and accounts for 5,056 resident workers an increase of approximately 10% (476), since 2006. This region will be most impacted by BREXIT, whichever form it takes, therefore policy needs to be developed and implemented to mitigate the impacts.
  • The analysis of the seven labour catchments in the Western Region has highlighted the importance of rural areas (centres with less than 1,000 persons) as employment locations. Depending on the location of the county town and the proximity of nearby urban areas, a large proportion of the labour catchment residents are in fact employed in rural areas. In general, this rate is in excess of 22% with the exception being in the Sligo town labour catchment where only approximately 17% are employed in rural areas. Interestingly, the Ennis labour catchment has the highest level of rural employment with 26.9% employed in the Clare rural area, reflecting the low number of urban settlements (>1,000 population) within Clare.