Trouble for firms in filling vacancies

The number of people emigrating is making it harder for companies to fill vacancies, according to the latest KBC Bank Ireland/Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Survey.

The survey found that 26% of businesses indicated that the level of emigration in recent years has made it harder to fill positions now that companies are beginning to look at hiring again.

KBC Bank Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said this is a sign that the jobs market may have begun to recover.

“The summer survey threw up some surprising responses in relation to the impact inward and outward migration flows are having on the jobs market. For most firms, this wasn’t a key issue at present but a sizeable 26% said that outward migration was beginning to make it harder to fill vacancies,” he said.

“The survey isn’t suggesting such problems are widespread but it does imply that the Irish jobs market is turning and the ‘push factor’ driving emigration may be waning.”

The survey is at odds with the official GDP figures for Ireland, which have the country plunging back into recession. In contrast, businesses have found that economic activity has increased and that both exporters and domestic companies are looking to hire staff.

“Irish business activity has strengthened further in the past three months and this further improvement has prompted an increased rate of hiring as well as fewer layoffs,” the survey states.

“Healthier job market conditions should facilitate an emerging improvement in conditions facing domestic-focused companies while exporters also report some improvement in demand for their output of late.”

Mr Hughes said there are signs an economic recovery may be on the way. “There are signs an upturn is being seen across a wider number of sectors and companies with an increase in the number of firms signalling higher business volumes and a drop in the share of firms indicating lower business volumes. Importantly these modestly positive trends are expected to continue in the next three months,” he said.

Chartered Accountants Ireland chief executive Pat Costello said the gradual improvement that has been seen in the economy was a reason for businesses to be hopeful.

“Companies are reporting no dramatic changes in the business climate in the past 12 months — this is consistent with other elements of the survey that point towards a fairly gradual improvement rather than a sea change. Market growth is seen as more supportive of expansion than a year ago,” he said.


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