Business

North's jobs market reports Brexit-related slump as IT sector soars

The Northern Ireland IT sector has reported a 51 per cent increase in job listings over the past two years
Gareth McKeown

THE north's job market has reported a Brexit-related slump, with listings for new roles down 9 per cent in the past three months, according to a new survey.

The latest NIJobs.com quarterly report, produced with Ulster Bank, shows the local market is slowing, in spite of ongoing growth within the IT sector.

The number of job listings in Northern Ireland recorded between April and June was 9 per cent less when compared to the record-high total at the start of the year. However the latest figure represents a 3 per cent rise year-on-year.

The jobs market in the north has been largely boosted by the burgeoning IT sector, which has reported a 51 per cent increase in listings over the past two years, now accounting for one in eight vacancies.

According to the analysis the most in-demand roles currently include; AI (Artificial Intelligence), Cybersecurity and UI(user interface)/UX (user experience) designers.

Looking ahead, the demand for IT roles is likely to continue on an upward trajectory, with NIJobs.com forecasting growth across the board, most pronounced in the areas of AI (+107 per cent) and cybersecurity (+114 per cent).

After IT, the social, charity and not for profit; hospitality and engineering; and production, manufacturing and materials sectors posted the largest number of job vacancies in the quarterly report. The latter was the only one of the top five largest employment categories to record a quarterly rise in job listings, hitting a record high alongside the legal sector. In all 13 of the 32 employment categories reported growth in jobs listings relative to the same period last year.

Sam McIlveen, general manager of NIJobs.com hailed the IT sector as the shining light of the north's jobs sector, but highlighted the impact of Brexit on the overall market.

“The top line figures are certainly illustrating the impact of Brexit," he said.

"Our job report is an indicator of what is happening and is not a forecast so it’s no surprise to see current uncertainty reflected in the quarterly figures. The year-on-year growth in jobs remains positive and is a reflection of the resilient and industrious nature of businesses in Northern Ireland.”

“The IT sector will continue to go from strength to strength powered by a pipeline of skilled tech graduates. The challenge right now for recruiters is to source the key talent they need to fill roles particularly in high growth areas such as AI and cybersecurity. We are working closing with leading companies such as Proofpoint, Kainos , Allstate ,SpotX and Slice to ensure they can showcase their jobs to these much sought after professionals," Mr McIlveen added.

Looking at the overall jobs market in Northern Ireland. Ulster Bank chief economist, Richard Ramsey said there are reasons to be positive.

"The second-half of the year is not expected to see the labour market strengthen as in the previous three years. Nevertheless, any weakening in the labour market must be viewed as coming from a position of strength," he said.

“Given that recent graduates will be embarking upon various career paths, it’s worth noting that a decade ago was the worst time in a generation to enter the labour market. Conversely, local graduates today have an unrivalled skillset that now ten years on is sought after by global brands who are investing heavily in the local marketplace.”

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