The Central Bank has found that the record high female employment was not triggered by the COVID work-from-home rules.
Instead, strong economic recovery and long-term trends have prompted more women and young people to enter and stay in the workforce, said a study by the Central Bank.
Women over the age of 35 and youth under the age of 25 employed an all-time high of 2.5 million people in the Irish economy at the end of last year.
Female employment reached a record high of nearly 60 percent of the workforce in 2021.
Tara McIndoe, research economist at the Central Bank, said: “Our research shows that to date there is no strong evidence that changes during the pandemic, such as hybrid or fully remote working, have led to a recovery in employment in recent quarters.” were the major supporting factors.” Calder.
“Instead, participation expansion is largely related to women under-25 and over 35 years of age, who respond strongly to the state of the business cycle.
“Women over 35 saw an increase in their labor force participation due to underlying structural reasons that date back to the pandemic and are expected to continue for some time to come.”
The proportion of people of working age in jobs has risen to 74 percent, well above the EU average, though still below countries such as the Netherlands and Estonia.
Ms McIndo-Calder said bringing Ireland up with Europe’s best-performing nations “could not happen automatically” and “some more action is likely”.
The biggest shift during the pandemic came from women over 35 who went from not having jobs in contact-intensive service sectors.
These jobs accounted for about 56.7 per cent of all newly employed people in 2021, with the proportion of women over 35 in such jobs increasing from 37.1 to 51.2 during the Covid period.
The share of highly skilled women and those under the age of 25 entering the workforce also increased in 2020 and 2021.
However, fewer parents with young children went into jobs during the pandemic.
“This suggests a mixed picture for the pandemic-induced work flexibility in supporting the expansion of the labor force in 2021,” the central bank said.
“Distance learning may have supported labor force participation, while the presence of young children may have represented additional caregiving responsibilities for parents who hinder labor force participation.”
The share of women over 35 in part-time employment rose from 64 percent before the pandemic to 66 percent in 2021, but the share of all groups in temporary employment fell.
The study found that domestic labor, rather than importing workers from abroad, recovered jobs in Ireland.
However, the Central Bank report said the record number of people working could reduce wages, although the pool of available workers is likely to shrink.
The job vacancy rate in Ireland peaked at 1.6 per cent at the end of March, a point ahead of the same period in 2021, but still well below the EU average of around 3 pc.