Job vacancies in Northern Ireland increased in May, according to a report from a recruitment firm this week.
The Reed Job Index, which tracks the number of new job opportunities each month from online recruitment data, found an increase in UK vacancies by 5% compared with the previous month, and 17% against May 2011.
Reed said there had been slow but steady growth in Northern Ireland vacancies since December 2011, in line with the rest of the UK.
Around the UK, 10 out of 12 regions showed increasing job growth last month, with only Wales and East Anglia showing a dip. The strongest UK regions were the East Midlands, the South West and Scotland.
More than 70% of the UK's employment sectors saw growth, with health and medicine, charity and voluntary and education roles faring strongest.
However, the index showed national salary growth remaining flat. Neal Lucas, managing director of Neal Lucas Recruitment, said his company, which specialises in executive recruitment and interim management, had seen a "spike in demand" along with a growth in confidence.
"We would agree that confidence is returning to the employers within the Northern Irish marketplace," he said.
"We have experienced a spike in demand coming into the summer months as many of the roles that, in effect have been held back, are released into the market as confidence returns.
"Employers remain keen to bring talent into their businesses but many individuals who are currently employed remain reluctant to move to new opportunities unless there is a clear career benefit for them to do so."
Mark Rhodes, marketing director at reed.co.uk, said: "While the UK is still technically in recession, these figures point towards a growing confidence among UK employers and we're cautiously optimistic about the prospects for continued jobs growth over the coming month, though recruiters will be keeping a keen eye on developments in the eurozone.
"It will also be interesting to see what impact the Jubilee bank holiday celebrations have on the employment picture in next month's figures, particularly in the retail, leisure and hospitality fields."
The index is compiled through analysis of job advertisement trends from more than 10,000 recruiters throughout the UK.