Northern Ireland jobs market remains steady but talent challenges persist.
2023 was an encouraging year for recruitment in Northern Ireland against a challenging economic backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, inflation hikes and increased operational and energy costs for business. Recruitment levels across Northern Ireland have remained steady, although many organisations continue to experience long-term skills shortages and difficulties when it comes to filling roles.
The ‘NIJobs Job Report with Ulster Bank’ and 'Labour Market Statistics' published by Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency provide key economic insights to help inform your recruitment plans for the year ahead and build realistic, achievable hiring timelines:
The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work increased over the previous quarter, according to Labour Force Survey data on employment and unemployment rates.
Businesses reported that employee jobs increased over the quarter (0.9%) and over the year (2.4%) to 822,870 jobs in September 2023. The annual change was statistically significant according to Quarterly Employment Survey.
Recruitment activity remains encouraging and consistent across many sectors - job opportunities in Q3 of 2023 saw a 48% increase compared to pre Covid 2019.
Quarterly increases in employee jobs were seen within the manufacturing, construction and services sectors.
It’s clear that skilled workers in IT and construction are much sought after, reflecting the wider challenges businesses are facing in terms of skills shortages and getting the right candidate for their roles.
Travel guide roles are becoming increasingly popular which tells us that there is investment in the tourism sector, aiming to position Northern Ireland as an attractive option to different visitor markets. This is also encouraging news for the local economy because demand and spend are clearly there from tourists.
Ongoing talent shortages remain a challenge for employers in Northern Ireland despite sectors actively recruiting. There are a number of contributing factors to this problem, including post-pandemic recovery, demographic changes, and shifting ways of working.
Key takeaways from the data published highlights the importance of employers identifying business-critical roles required to reach objectives in 2024. This will allow you to clearly identify where skills shortages exist within your organisation and will also give a clear path of what skills are required for future success.