Belfast Telegraph

Confidence on the rise as Northern Ireland firms look to increase payroll

By Jamie Stinson

Business confidence among Northern Ireland firms is increasing, with employers across all sectors expecting to add to their workforces over the next three months.

Optimism among companies is improving, particularly in the manufacturing sector, after a dip in employer confidence last quarter, recruitment firm Manpower found.

The employment outlook survey asked firms whether they will increase or reduce the size of the workforce during the second quarter of 2015. There was a 1% increase in the number of Northern Ireland companies which said they would hire additional workers in the following three months compared to the previous quarter.

Paul Laurie, operations manager at Manpower UK, said: "We are pleased that job prospects in Northern Ireland are in positive territory after they took a dip last quarter.

"Many of the roles on offer are permanent, particularly in scientific, technology and engineering sectors and inward investment in these areas has strengthened employer confidence.

"The possibility of converting temporary roles into permanent ones has also increased."

In the province there is a growing demand for skilled drivers, as a shortage grows due to lack of qualifications among workers, the report said.

"Demand in the driving and logistics sector has strengthened due to a growing skills shortage as drivers need to have the right qualifications.

"Those candidates who do have these are able to have their pick of roles and also demand higher salaries.

"The need for a large number of drivers to attend training courses has increased the number of temporary positions available in the sector, although this is likely to be a short-term trend."

The UK saw a 6% increase in employer confidence for the third successive quarter, with each region seeing an increase, except Scotland.

Surprisingly, there has been a jump in hiring intentions in the UK public sector, heading in to the upcoming general election.

"Even though, with austerity cuts across government departments, people might think that public sector hiring would be in the doldrums, what we are actually seeing is the reverse," the report said.

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