The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has advertised for a senior economist to lead a new Economic Intelligence Unit aimed at countering what the unions see as the rise of the "stockbroker economist" view.

Congress is seeking "an exceptional leader to direct a programme of research that has the potential to make a meaningful contribution towards the achievement of economic equality". The ad specifies that, as a "senior economist, you will already have made your mark through the development of high-quality analysis which presents plausible alternatives to the dominant orthodoxy".

An "attractive package" is on offer for a five-year contract, though an Ictu spokesman declined to reveal the salary.

Ictu already has its own economist, Paul Sweeney, and Siptu employs economist Maria Sherlock. But an Ictu spokesman said the unit is a "matter of pooling union resources".

The unit is separate from Ictu and is funded by the larger unions within Ictu, including Siptu and Impact, which have committed to financing it for the next five years.

The move comes after a union think-in last year decided on a major restructuring of the union movement in the wake of the collapse of partnership and the loss of what was described as the unions' 'silent seat' at cabinet.