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Explainer: What exactly is the Action Plan for Jobs?

The Action Plan for Jobs is the Government’s plan to improve the conditions for creating new jobs.

Since 2012, an Action Plan has been published every year, setting out clear actions and targets to help create positive conditions for job creation. This week saw the fourth annual Action Plan for Jobs being launched – a plan has been published for 2012, 2013 and 2014 (with an average of 93% delivery).

JOBS_APJ filmstrip 2

Who is involved with Action Plan for Jobs?

Action Plan for Jobs is a whole-of-Government initiative with all 16 Government Departments and around 60 Agencies working together to support job creation and protection. Action Plan for Jobs is a sister document to Pathways To Work, which concentrates on how to tackle unemployment and reduce the numbers on the Live Register without employment.

What are the aims of Action Plan for Jobs?

At the heart of it, the Action Plan for jobs has five main strategic ambitions: 

  • to support 100,000 additional jobs by 2016
  • to achieve a top 5 competitiveness ranking
  • to build world class clusters in key sectors of opportunity
  • to build an indigenous engine of growth
  • to develop Ireland as the best small country in which to do business

How it works....

The development of the Plan each year is led by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. They work with all Departments and Agencies to see what actions could help improve conditions for job creation in Ireland, building on the work done in the previous plan.

Once an action is agreed, it’s then broken down into a range of measures which are carefully scoped and scheduled for delivery within the year. Each measure has a quarterly delivery date and a lead Department or Agency responsible for ensuring it is carried out.

Progress is monitored by Department of the Taoiseach on a quarterly basis to ensure delivery. Each quarter the Government publishes details on the measures completed on time and measures that are delayed. Departments or Agencies who fall behind on their targets have to report on the reason for the delay, and explain their plan to bring that target back on schedule. 

A group of private sector business leaders, called Industry Partners, were appointed at the start of this process to provide advice and insight to the Action Plan for Jobs process. Find out more about the Industry Partners.

Is it making a difference?

As mentioned above, there are five main strategic aims for this Plan. Check out how well each aim is doing by clicking on the image.

APJ Strategic Ambition 1: to support 100,000 additional jobs by 2016


APJ Strategic Ambition 2: to achieve a top 5 competitiveness ranking


APJ Strategic Ambition 3: to build world class clusters in key sectors of opportunity


APJ Strategic Ambition 4: to build an indigenous engine of growth


APJ Strategic Ambition 5: to develop Ireland as the best small country in which to do business


Also worth noting that the OECD, the organisation that focuses on policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world, reviewed the Action Plan for Jobs process in May 2014. Among their conclusions were the following: 

  • Ireland’s Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) marks an important innovation in Irish governance
  • The APJ’s most striking innovation in the Irish public policy context is a coordination mechanism that ensures high-level political buy-in and oversight, whole-of-government engagement and the establishment of quarterly targets underpinned by a robust monitoring system. These are important steps towards addressing long-standing gaps that undermine successful policy implementation.
  • Ireland is well on track to achieve the interim APJ target of 100,000 new jobs by 2016, while the longer-term aim of having 2.1 million employed people by 2020 also looks firmly within grasp.” 
  • The APJ’s focus on private sector-led, export-oriented job creation by getting framework conditions right and continually upgrading the business environment is a sound approach…

You can read more about this review here. 

Useful numbers about Action Plan for Jobs

  • Almost 1,000 actions have been implemented by the Action Plan for Jobs process, started in 2012
  • This is the 4th annual plan in this multi-year process
  • 382 actions in this year’s plan
  • Average annual delivery rate is 93%
  • 16 Government Departments and over 60 State Agencies involved in this year’s plan 
  • 6 new disruptive reforms. Find out what a disruptive reform is here.

You can download all the Action Plan for Jobs documents here.