Business

Northern Ireland defies Brexit gloom to hit nine-year hiring high

Hiring intentions in Northern Ireland have jumped to their highest levels since 2008 according to ManpowerGroup

EMPLOYERS in Northern Ireland have defied the Brexit gloom to recruit staff at their fastest rate in nearly a decade, a new report reveals.

According to Manpower Group's latest employment outlook survey, hiring intentions have jumped three points to +7 per cent - a level not seen in the Northern Ireland since the start of 2008

And the rise - which is two percentage points ahead of the national average - is being driven by recruitment in the finance and construction sectors.

Amanda White, head of specialist markets at Manpower, said: “After so many quarters languishing behind the rest of the UK, it's great to see Northern Ireland's jobs market having a spring in its step.

"The sectors that are powering this resurgence are finance, construction and driving.

"The finance roles include a number of support roles in contact centres and accountancy, while German language speakers are also in demand.

"In Belfast, global finance organisation, FinTru has recently boosted job prospects in this sector by committing to creating 160 new jobs over the next five years.

“Construction firms are also hiring on all cylinders, with continued investment in new commercial buildings creating jobs for bricklayers, floor layers, and joiners.

"But this is leading to a skills shortage and driving up salaries, particularly on the temp side."

She added: “While clients aren't asking us about the impact of Brexit yet, we know there will be a lot of questions once Article 50 has been triggered.

"The industrial and hospitality sectors rely heavily on EU workers and employers are focused on trying to overcome skills shortages without free movement of labour.”

Nationally, private sector hiring has dropped to its weakest level since the first quarter of 2014, with employers in six of the nine sectors surveyed reported a falling outlook.

ManpowerGroup UK managing director Mark Cahill said: “The impending trigger of Article 50 is clearly affecting confidence in the jobs market. The private sector plans to hire at its slowest rate since 2014, with only construction, manufacturing and transport and communications planning to hire at previous levels.

"The employment rate is at its highest level since records began in 1971, but if you lift the bonnet to look at the engine of the economy, job creation has slowed and employers are becoming more cautious. The companies which have powered Britain's economy through the immediate post-referendum period are easing off the gas.”

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