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Run-up to election has impact on NI firms hiring

Businesses have begun to hire fewer staff amid "uncertainty surrounding the general election", a new survey has claimed.

The run-up to the snap election "has driven employers in Northern Ireland to become more cautious about hiring", according to ManpowerGroup.

The outlook dropped three points during the last quarter - but is still up at 4%. However, it has now fallen below the UK average, with more firms elsewhere seeking to hire additional staff.

Amanda White, head of specialist markets at Manpower, said: "The political uncertainty we have seen across the UK in the past few months is even more pronounced in Northern Ireland due to questions about what happens about the border after Brexit.

"As a result, we're witnessing an especially cautious market here, most notably within the public sector and the supply chains that feed into the sector.

"Often, during times of caution, we see a switch from permanent to temporary hiring, but right now even temporary opportunities remain static on the whole."

But she said that despite the fall in optimism this quarter "we are still in positive territory and there are some sectors that continue to demonstrate hiring optimism".

"The region's £1bn hospitality sector remains buoyant, and we have not seen any slowdown in the ongoing need for restaurant and hotel workers.

"Some commentators have expressed concerns about the long term health of the hospitality sector if a border was reinstated between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but so far employers in the sector remain confident."

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