Job vacancies down 23% at end of 2020, finds recruitment website

Hospitality bearing brunt of Covid crisis in ‘two-tier’ market, according to IrishJobs.ie

Sectors most vulnerable to a tightening of public health restrictions, including tourism, travel, and airlines, experienced a 96 per cent drop in vacancies over the year.

Sectors most vulnerable to a tightening of public health restrictions, including tourism, travel, and airlines, experienced a 96 per cent drop in vacancies over the year.

 

Job vacancies were 23 per cent down year-on-year in the final quarter of 2020, according to IrishJobs.ie. The recruitment website compiles quarterly vacancy numbers to gauge the strength of the Irish labour market.

In contrast to the March-May lockdown, when economic activity ground to a halt, the employment market was more resilient in the final quarter of the year as businesses showed signs of adapting to the new Covid reality, it said.

It noted that vacancies rose 5 per cent quarter-on-quarter despite the increased of tougher Level 5 restrictions in late October and November.

The most resilient sector in 2020 was science, pharmaceutical and food, which saw vacancies increase by 161 per cent year-on-year.

Other sectors that performed strongly were medical professionals and healthcare (up 123 per cent), IT (up 49 per cent), construction (up 5 per cent).

Each of these sectors posted both year-on-year growth and quarterly growth in job vacancy creation, according to the report.

However, sectors most vulnerable to a tightening of public health restrictions, including tourism, travel, and airlines, experienced a 96 per cent drop in vacancies over the year.

Vacancies in hotels and catering were down 82 per cent while those in beauty, hair care, leisure and sport sectors were down 56 per cent. These sectors continue to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 downturn, the report said.

Remote working

The group’s index also shows a sharp demand for remote working opportunities, with a 53 per cent increase in people searching for work-from-home roles from January 2020 to December 2020.

IrishJobs.ie general manager Orla Moran said: “In order to assess the full extent of the shock to the Irish economy resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, up-to-date indicators of Irish economic activity are essential.

“When we look at our latest IrishJobs.ie Jobs Index, what becomes apparent is the sheer resilience of Irish businesses who have adapted and adjusted quickly to the new Covid reality,” she said.

“Unlike the March-May lockdown, when the employment market experienced a sharp decline, job vacancies began to rise towards the latter half of the year,” she said.

Job vacancies

“The growth in vacancies in Q4 last year is a particularly encouraging trend, illustrating how many businesses have continued to recruit despite the introduction of additional lockdown restrictions,” Ms Moran said.

“However, what we are experiencing is a two-speed job market, whereby the professional services and exporting multinational sectors mostly shrug off the effects of the pandemic but service-oriented sectors, like hotels, beauty, and travel, whose employees and customers are required to be physically present, bear the brunt of the economic downturn,” she said.