Irish employers intend to embark on their biggest hiring spree in more than 15 years in the second quarter of 2022, new data suggests.
The latest employment outlook survey from ManpowerGroup is based on responses from more than 400 employers across Ireland. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.
It found employers plan to expand headcount significantly, driving the national hiring outlook up 32 per cent in the second quarter, which would be an increase of 29 percentage points year on year.
The Irish technology and IT sector continues to perform strongly with an outlook of plus-42 per cent.
“The Irish tech sector has been a leading light in our post-pandemic economic recovery” said John Galvin, managing director of ManpowerGroup Ireland.
“The pandemic has revolutionised the use of technology and IT across all sectors, which has driven up demand for tech skills in companies across the board.
“The tech sector had been an early adaptor of remote working prior to the pandemic, and we’re seeing tech companies continue to offer remote and hybrid work opportunities as offices have reopened.
“At a time when employers are facing a talent shortage, this is an important consideration in making new job opportunities candidate friendly and diversifying talent pools to attract the right candidates”.
Employers in Dublin report a hiring outlook of +29 per cent, up 22 percentage points year on year. Outside the capital, Connacht (+32 per cent), Leinster (+35 per cent) and Munster (+36 per cent) follow the trend.
Seasonally adjusted unemployment levels in February were recorded at 5.2 per cent by the Central Statistics Office, down from 7.5 per cent for the same period in 2021. Despite that, 72 per cent of employers are having difficulties filling vacancies.
“The unemployment level is back to pre-pandemic norms, but demand for talent is three times higher,” said Mr Galvin.
“This means there aren’t enough skilled workers available in the marketplace to meet the demand. Fixing an ongoing talent gap like we’re facing in Ireland will not happen overnight, nor will it be solved by simply offering higher wages.
“It’s a candidate’s market now, so employers need to be looking at long-term solutions to find the talent they need.”
Elsewhere, other industry (+36 per cent); other services (+34 per cent); banking, finance, insurance and real estate (+32 per cent); restaurants and hotels (+30 per cent); education, health, social work and government (+29 per cent) were all up.
There were also increases in manufacturing (+28 per cent); construction (+23 per cent); as well as wholesale and retail trade (+22 per cent).
When compared with the first quarter of 2021, outlooks improved in both manufacturing (+7 per cent) and other industry (+3 per cent) and remain consistent with banking, finance, insurance, and real estate (+0 per cent).
Outlooks decreased in other services (-2 per cent); IT, tech, telecoms, communications and media (-9 per cent); restaurants and hotels (-13 per cent); as well as in education, health, social work and government (-21 per cent).
There were also reductions in wholesale and retail trade (-47 per cent); and in construction (-25 per cent). Even where the drop has been significant, outlook “remains extremely high compared with typical pre-pandemic levels”, Mr Galvin said.