Big increase in Northern Ireland salaries for in-demand jobs
Salaries in Northern Ireland's most sought-after roles are rising by as much as 40% per year, according to a report out today.
And job hunters are being tempted by counter-offers by existing employers to encourage them to stay where they are, it's claimed.
The salary survey by recruitment specialist Brightwater Group said roles where suitable candidates were hard to find - such as quantity surveyors -were commanding increasingly high salaries.
But the role with the highest wage increase was the job of an in-house lawyer.
And the group said that managerial roles in accountancy - particularly payroll and credit control - were up by between 20% and 40%.
As salaries grow and competition for the right recruits intensifies, businesses were also spending money on specialist recruitment personnel.
Barbara McGrath, managing director of the Brightwater Group, said: "We've seen a strong and growing demand for recruitment services - proof of increasing business confidence.
"As a result, there is growing pressure to attract and retain staff. Benefit packages and retention of key talent will be the main focus for employers in 2018.
"Employers are having to rethink and reshape the packages being offered as well as look after key staff who have a wealth of experience and knowledge - those who are the leaders of the future.
"Counter-offers too are becoming more of an issue in 2018, particularly for niche roles with specific, hard-to-find skill sets."
The annual survey is based on data taken from over 800 respondents including employers and candidates.
Brightwater, an Republic of Ireland company with an office in Belfast, said the growth in salaries pointed to skills shortages in fields such as accountancy and construction.
Construction lost a pipeline of skilled personnel as the downturn encouraged students to study for other qualifications.
Last week, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings showed the weekly income of Northern Ireland men and women had surpassed £500 a week for the first time.
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said the impact of inflation meant that, in real terms, wages were coming down for most.
At 2.6% - after adjusting for inflation - real-term earnings had seen their steepest fall since 2010, he said.
"The average full-time employee in Northern Ireland has not seen their wages recover in real terms since 2009," Mr Ramsey added.
"The median annual wage is 5.6% below where it was in 2009 after adjusting for inflation.
"The years since 2009 represented a lost decade for wage growth."