Fears of a 'brain drain' have been allayed by a new survey which showed that 79% of respondents are not planning to leave Northern Ireland to find a job.
Recruitment firm Hays received responses from 490 employers, employees and jobseekers in Northern Ireland, and found that almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) felt positive about their prospects for securing new work in 2013.
The Hays Workforce Optimism Survey 2013 received 318 responses from employees and jobseekers and 172 employers in Northern Ireland between November 27, 2012 and March 4, 2013.
Almost half of respondents (48%) are currently on or have recently completed courses which will facilitate a career change. However, only 40% of employees said that they felt more confident about their employer's stability and potential for growth compared to 12 months ago.
This was supported by employers surveyed – only 51% said they felt confident about their company's potential for growth.
Four out of five respondents (79%) state they are not planning to leave Northern Ireland to find a job, compared to 25% in the Republic of Ireland who were looking to move elsewhere.
John Moore, director of Hays in Northern Ireland, said that while the Northern Ireland economy has some way to go before stability and confidence returns fully, the survey shows that people have a much more positive outlook than might otherwise be suspected.
"Savvy jobseekers are evaluating the skills they already possess compared to skills gaps businesses are reporting and are pro-actively looking at what training will act as a springboard between the two," he said.
"The increased positivity among respondents and greater confidence that they can successfully secure new roles suggests there will be greater fluidity and movement in the labour market throughout 2013."
The findings tie in with the last Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce quarterly economic survey which showed a slight positive change in business confidence.
In that survey, 45% of businesses expected to see an increase in turnover over the coming year, up from 42% in the preceeding three months.
One quarter (25%) believed that their turnover will decrease over the next 12 months, which remains unchanged from the previous three months.
Hays operates from 245 offices in 33 countries including premises in Belfast, Londonderry and Portadown.