Irish jobs market shows signs of recovery as vacancies rise

Cities remain resilient despite shift to home working for many industries

Vacancies in the Irish jobs market rose in the first three months of the year as the economy prepared for the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, new data says.

The Irish Jobs Index said job postings were up 34 per cent compared to the previous quarter, with overall vacancies up 5 per cent year on year.

Construction had the strongest growth, with job vacancies within the sector growing by 45 per cent quarter on quarter and 7 per cent year on year, as the industry began to reopen, while pharma, healthcare and IT were the most resilient sectors.

Science, pharmaceuticals and food were up more than 100 per cent year on year, while medical professionals and healthcare vacancies rose 97 per cent and IT job postings increased 171 per cent over the past 12 months.


However, with uncertainty hanging over the hospitality and retail sectors they remained subdued. Job postings in hotel and catering were down 75 per cent year on year, while beauty, haircare, leisure, and sport saw a 72 per cent decline in vacancies. Retail, wholesale and purchasing jobs postings were down 46 per cent year on year, and education, childcare, and training saw a 26 per cent decline.

In line with trends sparked by the pandemic, the uptake of working from home jobs were up 23 per cent across the country.

The cities showed some resilience, with the major urban centres around the country experiencing rising quarterly job vacancy numbers, despite the economic challenges of the past 12 months.

"Of the main cities, Limerick demonstrated particularly notable growth, recording a quarterly increase of 45 per cent and an increase of 92 per cent when compared to the same period last year. This growth can largely be attributed to the number of pharmaceutical employers within Limerick, which has inevitably boosted the city's job numbers," said Chris Van Egeraat, Economic Geographer for the Irish Jobs Index.

“Another trend worth noting is the consistent growth of Working from Home roles, which may also be contributing to the widespread regional growth. These vacancies have increased strongly in successive quarters and continue to do so, even in those quarters less affected by Level 5 public health restrictions. This indicates that growth in Working from Home vacancies may now be an established trend rather than a one-off response to the initial Covid-19 impact.” general manager Orla Moran said the data was encouraging.

“To see an overall year-on-year growth of five percent compared to this time last year, is a testament to the resilience of Irish businesses who have been operating against a uniquely difficult economic backdrop.”

Ms Moran said overall general economic predictions are positive for the year ahead, but reopening would be a challenging process and one that remained dependent on the vaccine rollout and the evolution of the virus.

“For this reason, the next few months will be crucial. Representative bodies and the government must work together to ensure that there is a reasonable balance between public safety and the ability for newly reopened businesses to serve customers with as few impediments as possible.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist