Taoiseach: Irish businesses need to 'adapt now' to new world jobs market

Taoiseach: Irish businesses need to 'adapt now' to new world jobs market
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) and Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys attend the Future Jobs Ireland Summit at Trinity College in Dublin. (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has urged Irish companies and industries to "adapt now" to a new world jobs market or risk repeating the "scars" of the recession.

Mr Varadkar made the comments at the launch of a Future Jobs Ireland policy launch in Dublin on Thursday, saying there is a need for a "proactive approach" to ensure Ireland "avoids the mistakes of the past".

"The world is changing fast. Technology continues to herald new ways of doing business and new economic opportunities. It is not only the types of jobs that will be changing, but the way that we work," Mr Varadkar told attendees at the event."Future Jobs Ireland also ensures that as our economy changes, and traditional industries and practices are disrupted, workers and enterprises are able to transition successfully."If we adapt now our enterprises can stay competitive and our society resilient. If we don’t then we will quickly fall behind."Future Jobs Ireland represents a proactive approach to avoiding the mistakes of the past, when we were over-reliant on a few sectors and complacent about future economic risks."My message is simple, there is no tolerance for any complacency at any level within Government, when it comes to the Irish economy," he said, adding if the message is not taken on board Ireland will risk the same "scars" of the recession.

Mr Varadkar was speaking at an event also attended by Business Minister Heather Humphreys, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, Education Minister Joe McHugh and junior minister for higher education Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Those at the event, which was attended by more than 200 business experts and "future work" specialists, heard Mr McHugh and Ms Mitchell O'Connor announce a €300m higher education investment fund to help people re-train in potential new work practices.

Speaking on Thursday, the World Economic Forum's managing director Saadia Zahidi said in a changing market place future jobs are likely to be "both more digital and more human" - suggesting Ireland could become a "hub" for this "fourth industrial revolution".

"The future of jobs will be both more digital and more human. The Irish economy could become a hub for this new wave of talent in the fourth industrial revolution.

"Most at-risk workers can be promoted into positions with similar skills and higher wages with the right re-skilling and up-skilling support.

"If the public and the private sector work together to fundamentally rethink education and training, they can harness the new opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution for workers, companies and the economy broadly," Saadia Zahidi said.

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