Belfast Telegraph

New Year job cuts hangover looms for Northern Ireland

By Lesley Houston

Northern Ireland businesses plan to cut their workforces in the first three months of the new year, a shock new survey has revealed.

Figures from the Manpower employment survey have confirmed that Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK to enter negative territory, with an employment outlook figure of -4.

That contrasts starkly with the national picture, with statistics across the UK indicating an employment outlook of +7%. However, the employment barometer has stressed the first quarter of 2015 is not all gloom, with Belfast and Londonderry remaining buoyant in terms of job creation.

"Belfast continues to be a bright spot for jobs in the region as the city grows ahead of projections in terms of economic output, but employment prospects in Londonderry are also improving," according to Manpower's operations manager, Amanda White.

"Londonderry's IT sector in particular is seeing a steady increase in employment as a result of both inward investment and skills training in the area."

The plummeting trajectory of employment here follows "a brief leap into positivity" during the last quarter when the figure peaked at +2. The survey is based on 2,000 UK employers who were asked if they intend to increase, or cut, staff.

"A negative employment outlook figure for this quarter is a disappointing start to 2015, but it's certainly not all bad news in Northern Ireland", Ms White said. "One reason for optimism in the region is that we're seeing a trend away from temporary employment towards permanent contracts across a number of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering, logistics and retail, as employers seek to attract and retain skilled candidates."

Belfast Telegraph