Hiring platform NIJobs believes artificial intelligence (AI) software will have a transformative role in the recruitment market during the course of 2024 and beyond.
Employers are expected to leverage the power of AI to streamline the recruitment process, while job-seekers may also turn to AI to support their job hunt, with 42% telling NIJobs that they will consider using AI to help them write a CV and cover letter in the future.
The findings come in its latest job report, compiled in partnership with Ulster Bank, which tracks hiring activity across the north by analysing the platform’s job data to help give an indication of trends alongside the prevailing economic environment, and also the type of roles job-seekers are searching for most online.
The latest report has revealed a slowdown in hiring activity in the final quarter of last year. But the vast majority of employment categories still have more job openings listed in 2023 than in the same quarter of 2019 pre-Covid. pandemic.
Categories with the most significant rises in vacancies relative to pre-pandemic include skilled trades (up 163%), construction (up 91%) and engineering (up 91%), with particularly high demand for electricians and quantity surveyors.
The quarterly report is further supported with a new survey of 1,275 job-seekers examining key motivators, insights, and trends for the year ahead.
Sam Dooley, country director of The Stepstone Group Ireland, which has responsibility for NIJobs, says: “While many categories continue to hire, the local job recruitment market is softening, and ongoing challenges around the availability of talent means Northern Ireland employers will need to continue to work hard to find solutions to skills shortages.
“Our survey indicated that 72% of job-seekers are motivated to change roles due to the considerable increase in the cost of living. Salary remains the most important factor when applying for a role – and 82% are more likely to apply for a job where salary details are listed.”
On the emergence of AI, he added: “One of the forecasted 2024 HR trends is the increased use of AI. Finding skilled professionals has put increased demands on recruiters to fill roles.
“Research shows that using AI to speed up the recruitment process, screen application documents, schedule interviews, and initial candidate communication will enhance overall efficiency, allowing recruiters to allocate more time to other strategic tasks and human connections.
“From a recruitment perspective, the use of AI will improve candidate selection through screening documents. This could also help boost the talent pipeline considerably and address skills shortages by matching candidates to the right role.
“Some 42% of respondents in the survey told us they would consider using it in the future to help prepare a CV or cover letter.
“This evolution of the recruitment process for both the recruiter and job-seeker will be an interesting area to monitor. Recruiters may find it more challenging to evaluate candidates, given the rising influence of AI in communication. It is important for companies not to replace or neglect the value of human connection during the recruitment journey as this will ensure they find the right candidate for the role.”
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said: “Northern Ireland’s labour market finds itself in something of a twilight zone.
“Employment levels have never been higher, and the unemployment rate continues to hover around its recent record low.
“Yet this labour market positivity is occurring alongside the biggest strike action in 50 years and low morale within the public sector. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis and widespread skills shortages across the economy continue to bear down on employees and employers.
“Recent survey evidence, such as the Ulster Bank PMI report for December, has pointed to a softening in labour market conditions. While the overall level of employment is holding up, there are growing signs of a slowdown in recruitment intentions.”