Highest vacancies in IT despite jobs dip

Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank's chief economist.
Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank's chief economist.
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The jobs market in Northern Ireland is slowing after 14 consecutive months of record-breaking highs across a variety of sectors, according to the latest NIJobs.com Job Report with Ulster Bank.

Jobseekers are said to be more active with applications up 12 per cent in the last year.

Jobs decreased by 5% in Q3 reflecting ongoing concerns over Brexit and the impact of the global economic slowdown on business planning and investment. Skills shortages also remain a key concern.

Construction, accountancy and engineering are benefiting from candidates keen to change roles.

Sam McIlveen, general manager of NIJobs.com, said: “The fact that jobs have eased back is no surprise given the ongoing economic uncertainty.

“However, our latest job report must be viewed in context. We are coming off the back of record job highs with 14 consecutive quarters of growth so in many ways the local jobs market has never been stronger.

“Interestingly, job applications have increased by 12% on our site, which signals just how active and engaged Northern Ireland’s jobseekers are at the moment.

Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank’s chief economist, noted that the current number of vacancies remained well above the levels seen in 2015-17 despite advertised vacancies now at a seven-quarter low. “The pace of hiring at the start of the year was unsustainable and needed to slow.

“The IT sector has seen the number of listings fall by 30% over the last three quarters. Nevertheless, the sector still accounts for more vacancies than any other sector. After IT, hospitality; social, charity and not for profit; production, manufacturing and materials; and accountancy and finance sectors posted the largest number of job vacancies.”

However, he predicted that the province’s labour market is set to weaken.

“It looks increasingly likely that Q2 represented Northern Ireland’s labour market peak for jobs and trough for unemployment. Ongoing Brexit uncertainty has been translating into negative economic and business outcomes.”