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Ireland - Improving?

05 April 2012

Two surveys seem to indicate some improvement in the Irish employment market.  The latest Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor reported a 9% increase in new job opportunities for professionals in Ireland.  The numbers increased from 8,550 in March 2011 to 9,246 in March 2012.  There was also a 9% month-on-month uplift from 8,462 in February 2012

March 2012 however saw a  substantial yearly increase in the number of professionals beginning their job searches up +57% to 12,200 when compared to March 11 (7,755). Month-on-month this is an 8% increase from 11,305 in February 2012,

Speaking about the numbers Karen O’Flaherty, Chief Operations Officer, Morgan McKinley said:

“Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor registered an 18% increase in the number of new professional jobs in Q1 12, compared to Q1 11. There have been some positive improvements in the hiring market throughout Q1 12 including the average pace of the recruitment process and greater commitment to hiring and job sign-off from employers. The increased confidence in the recruitment market is tempered by evidence of short term business forecasting, demonstrated by a rise in demand for professionals to fill project and fixed term contracts versus permanent hires. These hires are averaging a contract duration of 12-24 months and are primarily seen in the accounting and financial services sectors”.

These figures compare to an overall increase in the number of jobs advertised online driven by certain sectors achieving large gains, according to the IrishJobs.ie Jobs Index for the first quarter of 2012. A 4% increase follows a six-month decreasing trend in the previous two quarters. The sectors experiencing gains include production, manufacturing, materials (+82%); science, pharmaceuticals and food (+52%); banking and finance (+30%); and engineering and utilities (+22%). IT continues in a steady upward trend.

The IrishJobs.ie Jobs Index also reported sectors that experienced a decline in Q1 2012 compared with the previous quarter. The sectors that have seen a slump include telecoms (-55%); transport and motor (-24%); legal (-14%); marketing (-14%); publishing (-12%); and retailing, wholesaling and purchasing (-11%).

The IrishJobs.ie Jobs Index measures the number of jobs advertised online across the main recruitment websites in Ireland, serving as an indicator of jobs market trends in Ireland.

“The jobs picture overall is reasonably positive especially when considered in the context of an unemployment rate of above 14% in Ireland," said Dr Stephen Kinsella, lecturer in economics at the University of Limerick and author of the report. The IrishJobs.ie index is a good leading indicator of the state of the Irish labour market, because it gives a sense of what employers are expecting the future to look like.’’

Despite the more encouraging signs in the local employment markets, both surveys come at the same time as “thousands of Irish line up for chance to work in Canada” according to the Journal of Commerce (western Canada’s construction newspaper).

The Saskatchewan Construction Association (SCA)., in partnership with the Saskatchewan government and about 30 employers, attended the “Working Abroad” Exhibition in Dublin in March. According to Michael Fougere, president of the SCA, the queue to the meeting was “one kilometre long and four people wide. These candidates were very highly skilled journeypersons and apprentices, who are eager to leave”.

Another delegation led by representatives of the British Columbia construction industry were also at the job fair. “We were overwhelmed and the event organizers had no idea there would be this type of reaction,” said Manley McLachlan, president of the BC Construction Association (BCCA).

According to McLachlan, about 9,000 people attended the event on Saturday and 11,000 people came on the Sunday. Thousands more, who queued up outside the venue, were turned away. Close to 300-400 people were in front of the BCCA’s booth on a continuous basis for 8 hours on Saturday and 10 hours on Sunday, with organizers extending business hours to accommodate as many people as possible.

More than 220 jobs have been offered by Saskatchewan employers and accepted by participants in the job fair.

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