Jobs vacancies up 57% on pre-pandemic levels, according to recruitment website

Recruitment firm says candidate supply has not kept pace with rapid increase in demand

Job postings on recruitment website Indeed are currently 57 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, a reflection the current strength of the Irish labour market.

"Candidate supply" has not kept pace with the rapid increase in demand particularly in the health, distribution, warehousing, online delivery and other services sectors of the economy, Indeed's chief economist Jack Kennedy said.

Job postings in these sectors were on average three times their pre-pandemic levels, he said.

"Vacancies remain very high. A lot of organisations still have pretty substantial staffing gaps to fill," Mr Kenndy said, noting the number of vacancies advertised on the group's Irish portal had grown rapidly since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions at the start of the year.

However, he said the headline vacancy numbers had "softened somewhat" in recent weeks, perhaps reflecting the uncertain economic outlook linked to higher inflation and war in Ukraine.

The overall labour shortfall reflected the fact that many people in the domestic workforce had not returned to the workplace in the wake of Covid and “are continuing to sit on the sidelines of the labour force,” he said.

The main reasons for this, according to Indeed’s own research, include caring responsibilities (for children or other family members); built-up savings and/or fear of contracting Covid-19.

The Republic's headline unemployment rate fell below 5 per cent in April, matching the pre-pandemic level. Despite accelerated inflation and uncertainty linked to the war in Ukraine, the Central Bank has predicted a further tightening of the labour market in the coming months.

It also warned that if wage demands detached from underlyproductivity higher levels of inflation could become embedded in the economy.

Mr Kennedy said the labour market outlook was complicated by inflation. He said wage levels - in advertised jobs on the Indeed website- had gone up 1 per cent while inflation was running at 7 per cent. The higher cost of living, he said, could prompt people currently on the sidelines to be more active in their job search.

“Equally if demand conditions soften this could potentially feed back into slowing labour demand,” he said.