Belfast Telegraph

Jobs market 'ending year on a high' with increasing vacancies, figures show

Demand for staff remains strong, with increasing vacancies for permanent and temporary workers, a report shows.

Despite the optimistic picture on jobs, the availability of staff fell last month, especially for permanent posts, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said.

Its survey of 400 recruitment firms revealed the biggest increase in permanent jobs was in the North and the Midlands.

Vacancies particularly increased for engineers and computer staff, while the slowest rise was in the hotel and catering sectors.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "The jobs market is ending the year on a high with appointments and vacancies at levels not seen since February.

"In all parts of the UK, recruiters are reporting increasing demand, so clearly businesses continue to seek growth in their workforces."

Mr Green said the biggest concern for next year was the increasing skills shortage, adding: "We need engineers to deliver infrastructure projects, carers and nurses to look after our ageing population, teachers to educate our young people, and right now we are short of warehouse workers, drivers and chefs to meet demand over Christmas.

"Talent shortages will be exacerbated if the government imposes restrictions on people coming to the UK from abroad.

"This might result in businesses considering options such as offshoring or relocation abroad.

"This is a risk we cannot afford."

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: "With record levels of employment and over 750,000 vacancies available at any one time, the jobs market is in a position of strength."