Belfast Telegraph

Employers' optimism soars to three-year high

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland employers are more optimistic about job creation than they have been for three years, according to a new survey.

The 'Manpower' employment outlook survey said that despite the financial downturn, the outlook here is at +6%, an increase of 9% from the last quarter and up 9 points year-over-year, thanks to a rise in output in the manufacturing sector.

The upturn is the second biggest boost in confidence across the UK, according to the report which is based on responses from over 2,100 UK employers about whether they intend to hire additional staff in the coming economic quarter.

Finance, Banking and Business Services remains the most bullish sector, with a +10% outlook.

Manufacturing is the second most optimistic sector intending to create jobs with a score of +6% and has risen an impressive 5% compared to this time last year. Within the private sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are leading job creation with a +8% outlook, which is notably higher than the flat intentions of larger and micro companies.

Amanda White, operations manager for Northern Ireland at Manpower UK, said Northern Ireland has a proud manufacturing heritage and it is this sector that is set to create jobs here and play its part in the economic recovery.

"Employers in Northern Ireland are now, once again, intending to create a net number of jobs in the region and are the most optimistic than at any time in the last three years," she said.

"As the economic recovery takes hold in Northern Ireland, employers will have to navigate a potential talent shortage as the jobs created require new skills not readily available.

"Employers will instead have to focus on finding the 'teachable fit': those candidates who have the soft skills which can be developed as required for the roles they wish to fill."