Recruitment and HR services firm Collins McNicholas said yesterday it expects the number of people at work in Ireland to exceed two million this year; which would be the first time the number has hit that mark since before the global recession.
“The outlook for Ireland’s labour market is positive,” according to Collins McNicholas managing director Niall Murray.
“Demand for highly-skilled workers, such as those with experience in software, medical devices and biopharma, will remain strong going forward, but the challenge now will be to provide training and employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed,” he added.
Latest job figures from the CSO, this past week, showed that the number of people unemployed in Ireland fell to its lowest level — 169,100 — in nearly eight years last month. However, that wasn’t enough to change the unemployment rate which remained at 7.8%.
Overall, the rate is expected to finish the year at 7.8%, down from 9.4% last year and 11.3% in 2014. But, all commentators — including Collins McNicholas — see its continued decrease slowing down.
The company said the still uncertain consequences of Brexit on the Irish economy will hamper employment growth.
Recently, Davy Stockbrokers said the unemployment rate is unlikely to dip much lower than 6.5% due to a skills mismatch between former construction workers and a growing services-based economy and that addressing the issue will be a key challenge for policymakers in the coming years.
Merrion Capital said this week that while the downward trend in unemployment will continue this year, it will be at a slower pace.
“Despite the uncertain consequences of Brexit on the Irish economy, foreign direct investment is strong and should grow as investors seek to maintain access to the EU markets and avoid uncertainty over Britain’s status post-Brexit,” Mr Murray added yesterday.
The latest Collins McNicholas data also shows that domestic demand remains steady and growing and high-tech sectors — particularly ICT, biopharma, and medical devices — are doing well. Jobseekers with skills in process engineering, lab analytics and software development will remain in strong demand, it added.