Jobs buzz as more Northern Ireland firms looking to hire
Businesses in Northern Ireland are hiring at their fastest rate since the economic downturn in 2007, a new report has claimed.
Hiring intentions are now above the national UK average, with 8% more firms saying they will hire staff, than reduce their workforce.
That's according to recruitment firm Manpower.
The survey is based on responses from 2,100 UK firms and asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.
Amanda White, operations manager at Manpower, said there is now "a real buzz in Northern Ireland's jobs market going into the second quarter of 2016".
She said: "We've had a stalled recovery since the economic downturn, but the market is now turning a corner and we're seeing an increase in permanent opportunities which are always in high demand among candidates.
"Roles are available across several sectors, and in manufacturing in particular. There is also a need for customer service representatives in the region's call centres.
"In a dramatic shift from what we have been experiencing in recent quarters, it's actually candidate availability that is now the concern.
"There is a noticeable reduction in the availability of good quality candidates, which means those with the right skills are in a prime position to negotiate on pay."
Across the UK, hiring intentions among firms in the first half of 2016 are at their strongest level since 2007.
But according to James Hick, ManpowerGroup Solutions' managing director, there are concerns about the impact to the jobs market if the UK votes to leave the EU.
"Employers of all shapes and sizes rely on the free movement of people inside Europe to find the skills they need," he said.
"The latest employment statistics showed that of the 521,000 jobs created in the last 12 months, 215,000 of these were filled by people from elsewhere in the EU. Let's be realistic: we simply won't be able to replace overnight the skills these people bring to the UK if we leave the EU, and it's our economy that will suffer."