A whopping 46 percent of people in full time employment in Ireland are considering emigrating, according to the latest study.

Some 62 percent of people in gainful employment are unhappy with their career prospects in Ireland, according to to University College Cork’s EMIGRE project.

As part of the EMIGRE project, over 500 people were surveyed at the recent Working Abroad Expos held in Dublin and Cork. Almost three quarters of respondents said they were considering leaving Ireland in search of new job opportunities. Some 74 percent said they were likely to leave in the next six months.

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A close majority of respondents were over the age of 30 and 14 percent were over the age of 40.

Almost a quarter had mortgages in Ireland and children, suggesting that many families were thinking of moving away from Ireland. The majority of respondents had a third level degree or higher.

Central Statistics data has also revealed the immigration rate of Irish emigrants increased by over 350 percent between 2008 and 2012.

Dr. Piaras MacÉinrí, the EMIGRE project leader, highlighted the human dimension of the survey.

“Holding over 500 questionnaire returns, banal as they look, is a way of looking at over 500 lives.

“There is something infinitely poignant about many of these documents, charting, as they do, lives in transition,” said MacÉinrí.

“There were some very angry people, but a smaller number of hopeful and happy ones. Men in their later 40s, and even older, looking abroad, some for the first time. It seems many families who returned to Ireland in the good times are now leaving for a second time.”

The latest results are part of a larger project which is set to include household surveys in Ireland and extensive online surveys and interviews with Irish emigrants worldwide, due to be completed by September 2013. To take part in the survey click here.

The EMIGRE  project is funded by the Irish Research Council and hosted by the Department of Geography in UCC, along with the Institute for the Social Sciences in the 21st Century.