Confidence around hiring at lowest level in more than 10 years

Survey shows 56% of employers expect hiring to return to pre-Covid levels in 12 months

Confidence around hiring new staff among employers in the Republic has fallen to its lowest level in more than 10 years, a survey from global staffing consultants Manpower Group.

The survey shows that employers reported the weakest confidence since the first quarter of 2010, with an outlook of 10 per cent, a 21 percentage point drop compared with the previous quarter.

Nevertheless, across seven of the eight industries covered in the survey, 56 per cent of employers expect hiring to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next 12 months.

"The Covid-19 outbreak has naturally swept through the business community and caused employers to reassess headcounts in the short term. Employers in the restaurants and hotels sector have been particularly hard-hit with the lowest outlook we've seen recorded for any sector in Ireland, " said Manpower Group's Ireland managing director Chris Gray.

Bright spot

The survey results show that 86 per cent of those surveyed in the restaurant and hotel sector had at least 50 per cent of their business suspended.

Mr Gray noted that the pharmaceutical industry was a bright spot and was the only sector with a positive outlook in the survey. Just 12 per cent of pharmaceutical organisations surveyed had seen their production suspended by more than 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, the construction sector was as “adversely affected as expected”, Mr Gray said. Employers in the sector appear confident of a swift bounce back with 30 per cent anticipating hiring activity to return to normal within three months.

Manpower’s survey is based on responses from 377 employers in the Republic.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business