Housing and public transport deficits need addressing urgently if Cork is to overtake Dublin as the leading job growth region by 2022, as predicted by a recruitment expert.
Cork Chamber said tangible progress on projects in the National Development Plan (NDP) had to become evident if the region was to claim its spot as the "talent capital" of the Republic -- a claim made at a major HR conference in Cork.
The Talent Summit conference heard claims that Cork is on track to surpass Dublin as the national jobs centre by 2022.
Current labour market trends in Cork include higher levels of job growth in the region in 2019 compared to elsewhere in the country with jobs being filled on average 15% quicker than anywhere else in Ireland, the event heard.
Retention rates are 33% higher than in Dublin with the cost of talent on average 11% less than the capital, it also heard.
Cork regional manager for Sigmar Recruitment, Gerard Gardiner said: "Cork is booming at the moment and should the talent trend continue on the current trajectory, Cork will surpass Dublin as the talent capital by 2022.
Mr Gardiner added: "From an employer’s perspective, Cork offers material value for investors. Speed of hiring and cost of labour are two key competitive advantages in establishing or scaling operation in Cork.
"Retention of talent is another key challenge for employers and Cork has a considerably higher success rate in retaining staff than elsewhere in the country.
“While salaries are on average 11% lower than Dublin, the cost of living is far less even though the rental market remains sticky in Cork, it is still 22% cheaper than renting in the capital.”
The job growth must be backed up by movement on the National Development Plan in relation to homes and public infrastructure, Cork Chamber senior public affairs executive Sarah Foley said.
"We must also have the fundamentals in place. As Cork develops, it will compete with other second cities such as Rotterdam, Manchester, Gothenburg or Aarhus.
"While we can confidently contest on job opportunities and work-life balance, our relative attractiveness will depend hugely on Government’s ability to deliver on the plans for Cork set out under Ireland 2040, including high density housing, sustainable and public transport, urban regeneration plus investment in our social and economic infrastructure to keep up with a growing population."
She said that a year into the National Development Plan, it is "worrying that public policy and investment has yet to deliver real impact on the ground" in Cork.
"For example, we need to see policy change so that affordable apartments can be delivered in central locations.
"Not a single large-scale apartment block has been built in Cork city since the completion of the Elysian in 2008 despite strong demand for urban living.
"Looking ahead, we must enable people to live in exciting locations close to employment but at an affordable price.
"Ensuring that we improve densities and offer people the choice of apartment living will be critical for Cork to build on its successful track record in attracting new jobs, talent and people to our region," Ms Foley said.