Positive signs for Irish economy as employment begins to rise

Job postings increased by 14pc in the period May to June, with 30 June marking the busiest day for postings. 

Ireland’s employment market experienced an increase in job vacancies for the period of May to June according to the latest Jobs Index from e-recruitment platform IrishJobs.ie.

The index, which analyses quarterly job vacancy data, reveals that job postings on the company’s website increased by 14 per cent (pc) from May to June, with 30 June marking the busiest day for job postings.

This spike in activity came as just one day after Ireland entered the third phase of the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business.

Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of sectors experienced a decline in job vacancies, with an average decrease of 51pc in job postings for the wider period of March to June.

“The findings from the latest index signals that the overall employment market is starting to reopen and rebound”

However, June proved to indicate a turning point for the Irish economy, with the country’s unemployment rate, including those receiving temporary Covid-19 jobless benefit, falling to 22.5pc at the end of June, from 26.1pc the month previous.  

To put this figure into context, the unemployment rate stood at just 4.8pc before the Covid-19 crisis.

Sectors

Tourism, travel and airlines (-100pc), hotel and catering (-95pc), beauty, hair care, leisure and sport (-87pc), HR and recruitment (-77pc) and sales (-74pc) were among the industries most affected during the lockdown period.

However, some sectors remained resilient and experienced marginal declines including telecoms (-1pc), pharmaceutical and food (-7pc), while banking, financial services and insurance (-34pc) experienced a slightly larger decline.

Of the 31 individual sectors analysed in the latest index, 26 experienced an increase in vacancies in the month of June.

The beauty, haircare, leisure and sport (+206pc) sector recorded the largest increase in job vacancies for June followed by marketing (+125pc) and hotel and catering (+91pc).

“The correlation between this spike in activity and the reopening of many businesses across the country reaffirms that we are moving in the right direction”

During this period, medical professionals and healthcare (+16pc), engineering and utilities (+11pc), and science, pharmaceutical and food (+10pc) were the most active industries, generating the largest portion of job vacancies overall.

Despite an increase in job posting during the period of May to June, overall vacancies still remain 54pc below February’s pre-Covid index levels with sectors including tourism, travel and airlines continuing to experience the negative impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

“The latest IrishJobs.ie Jobs Index is a timely indicator of post lockdown recruitment trends in Ireland. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, job vacancies have declined significantly with the majority of industries experiencing a recruitment freeze, as they navigated through extremely uncertain times,” said Orla Moran, general manager of IrishJobs.ie.

“One sector that remained active was the medical and healthcare professionals’ group which generated the largest portion of job vacancies during this time. This can in part be attributed to the success of IrishJobs.ie’s support of the HSE’s Covid-19 emergency recruitment drive.

“However, the findings from the latest index signals that the overall employment market is starting to reopen and rebound, with a 14pc increase in job postings over the period of May to June.”

Despite the roll out of the Government’s third phase, Ms Moran claims there is still a lot more work to be done before the Irish economy can operate at full flow.

“The correlation between this spike in activity and the reopening of many businesses across the country reaffirms that we are moving in the right direction, but we must acknowledge that there is still a way to go before we return to pre-Covid recruitment levels.

“As the figures reveal, Irish job vacancy rates remain at 54pc below pre-Covid levels. This figure is further compounded by recent IDA Ireland comments suggesting that foreign direct investment will likely slow down over the next two years. 

“Therefore, in order to get back to pre-Covid levels of recruitment and wider market buoyancy, we must be swift and proactive in addressing the needs of individual sectors. The Government’s soon to be announced jobs stimulus package will have a central role to play, both in saving existing jobs and creating new ones. We’ve no doubt that this support will be welcomed by many industries and business communities who are currently experiencing challenging times,” she concluded.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 15 July, 2020