Tech layoffs barely dent Ireland’s stable jobs market

The number of jobs on offer have actually doubled since December.

Despite the so-called tech wreck, Ireland’s jobs market has remained stable, according to recruiter Morgan McKinley.

According to the latest Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor, the movement in professional job vacancies in Ireland in the first quarter of 2023 was relatively flat compared to the previous quarter, with a slight increase of 0.86%.

“Talk of a tech recession has dominated headlines recently and, while certain areas have contracted and companies have acted accordingly by reducing their workforces, various industries continue to go from strength-to-strength”

However, the number of jobs on offer has almost doubled since December 2022, recovering from the cyclical decrease that the market experiences at the end of every year.

Compared to the same quarter in the previous year, there has been no significant change, with the number of professional jobs coming to market decreasing only marginally by 0.15%.

Rise in professionals seeking new opportunities

The Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor also recorded an overall increase of 13% in the number of professionals actively seeking new job opportunities between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023. More significantly, there are 38% more professionals actively seeking new opportunities than there was a year previously in Q1 2022.

The number of professional job seekers has reached the highest monthly level over the last 18 months in March 2023 representing a 16% sequential increase from February 2023, and a 40% increase from the same month of the prior year (March 2022).

The high number of professionals currently seeking employment can be attributed to a delay in those who received redundancy payments last year returning to the job market. Instead, some took time out to reset before putting themselves back on the employment market. Additionally, there is a pool of skilled professionals who have upgraded their skills to pursue better career opportunities in the market.

Salaries stay stable

Salaries have remained stable from the previous quarter. They remain competitive, although employers are less flexible than before to go above the market rate. Employers are now putting more of a focus on retaining good talent, rather than attracting new candidates.

And despite layoffs in the tech sector, the employment picture in Ireland can be described as resilient.

“The Irish job market has remained resilient despite recent layoffs in the technology sector,” said Trayc Keevans, global FDI director at Morgan McKinley Ireland. “Although the number of professional job vacancies has remained relatively stable, we have seen an increase in demand for certain skills, particularly in engineering, life sciences and construction sectors. The number of professionals actively seeking new job opportunities has increased significantly.”

Despite the cautionary approach to hiring in the technology sector, the number of jobs coming to market has grown, Keevans said.

“The biggest area of hiring has been in cyber security. This is not surprising considering the findings of a recent PWC report which found that 88% of Irish executives noted an increase in cyberattacks since 2020 – due to increased digital acceleration in their organisations as well as new risks around cloud adoption, third party outsourcing and digitised supply chains. These positions included cyber security engineers, cyber analysts, Infosec Analysts and SOC Managers who have most actively been hired in the banking and financial services sector. Programming languages such as Java and Python are the most in demand languages.

“Talk of a tech recession has dominated headlines recently and, while certain areas have contracted and companies have acted accordingly by reducing their workforces, various industries continue to go from strength-to-strength. The engineering and life sciences sector has seen considerable growth. Ireland continues to be a pioneer as the sector leads the way in R&D and manufacturing. Process Engineering is currently the most hired for position in 2023, due to an increase in manufacturing activity, with a significant increase also in project management requirements for the engineering and life sciences sector. Automation positions continue to grow in volume due to the numbers moving into the data centre industry attracted by higher salaries and benefits.”

Keevans said the biggest growth in opportunities quarter on quarter was in the construction sector.

“There has been an increase in demand for modular construction and associated talent in both accommodation and schools this quarter with a plan to build approximately 600 classrooms by the beginning of September of this year. This is a direct result of the mass migration that has occurred due to the war in Ukraine.”

“Despite the conclusion of contracts, the anticipated return of construction talent from Europe has not occurred due to the challenges of obtaining affordable housing rentals. As a result, a significant amount of talent has diverted to Australia and Canada in the past three months. Additionally, the influx of new international talent in the construction sector has diminished due to the inability to secure affordable accommodation in the country.

“The level of new positions coming to market in supply chain and procurement has increased by more than 40% compared to Q4 2022. Salaries have remained steady although with more positions available this has not translated to enable employees to leverage capacity on salary levels. The market is slowly switching from an employee-led to an employer-driven market. Employers are starting to be more precise in the profiles they are seeking to hire, wishing them to possess all the necessary specific skills.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.