Unemployment could increase beyond the highest rate recorded during the last recession according to a study by Social Justice Ireland.
The advocacy group predicts over 390,000, or 16.1 per cent of workers could be unemployed following the pandemic, which would be the highest unemployment rate since 1986.
Based on data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the group's Employment Monitor states over 1.2 million people workers have been impacted by Covid-19, almost a quarter of whom do not expect to return to their previous job when restrictions are lifted.
The group says more men than woman were in jobs impacted by Covid-19, however, more women expect to not return to work.
The Monitor predicts the State is heading for "an explosion in youth unemployment - which was already underway before the pandemic" as almost 112,000 of those saying they will not return to their pre-pandemic job being between the ages of 15-34.
The Social Justice Ireland study predicts Dublin's unemployment rate will jump to 21 per cent, almost 350 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, while rates in all other regions "will likely double".
In light of the research, the group is now calling on the Government to promote up-skilling for the unemployed and those at risk of being made redundant in order to better their employment prospects.
They also emphasise the need to address obstacles facing women when they return to the workforce, and the expansion of the age profile of apprenticeships and training programmes to include older workers.