Jobs outlook is good, but higher pay could help us push forward
The latest figures in the monthly Labour Market Report provided an optimistic outlook for the jobs market in Northern Ireland as unemployment levels continue to fall, which is encouraging.
We've come a long way since 2010, where we experienced a slowdown in job market churn - the roles generated by people moving within the market rather than those created by new or developing organisations.
This caused stagnation and many strong candidates became frustrated by the lack of opportunity and either left the market altogether by moving away or put their careers on hold until the market began to move again.
Northern Ireland is a good place to be for job opportunities today. SMEs continue to thrive, however, we lack larger corporate positions that can support the development of ambitious local employees and attract successful members of the diaspora home.
However, statistics also revealed that median gross weekly earnings over the year to April 2014, for all employees in Northern Ireland, decreased by 2.2%, while the UK saw a growth of 0.6%. This is worrying and a reminder that we need to see an increase in higher-salaried jobs to drive the private sector forward.
All too often, skilled and experienced candidates are forced to move across the water. If candidates wish to progress, enhance their skills and achieve their career goals and that means they have to move, then so be it. The problem with this reality is that when they look to return home, there aren't always appropriate executive level jobs for them.
A dynamic economy will ensure a vibrant job market where people will get opportunities to develop their skills and companies will be able to source talented people.
For those who are currently on the job search, it's important to remember that competition is rife and it's imperative to hone your job-hunting skills.
Don't presume your experience and previous positions are enough. A common gripe that I hear from employers is that candidates aren't up to the standard they require.
Put the legwork in, spend time on your CV and application forms and make use of social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
Neal Lucas is managing director of executive search company Neal Lucas Recruitment. Visit www.neallucasrecruitment.com or follow Neal on Twitter @neallucasrec