Majority of Northern Ireland companies predicting an expansion
More than two-thirds of Northern Ireland businesses have said they expect to grow and see activity increase in the next year despite uncertainties.
That's according to the latest UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide from recruitment firm Hays.
Around 69% of companies have said they expect business activity to increase over the coming year, which is higher than the UK average of 59%.
And up to 76% of employers are planning to recruit over the next 12 months, ahead of the UK average of 71%. The survey includes the views of 17,500 firms across the UK, including almost 700 in Northern Ireland.
It also found skills shortages "remain an issue" for the majority of employers, with two-thirds reporting a shortage of suitable applicants as their biggest recruitment challenge this year.
John Moore, regional managing director of Hays in Northern Ireland, said: "Despite the economic and political uncertainty, employers are broadly optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead and are forging ahead with recruitment plans.
"Many professionals in Northern Ireland are proving to be pragmatic when weighing up new opportunities. Whilst salary remains the single biggest factor in deliberating over whether to remain within a firm or to move jobs, it's heartening that the other elements - environment, progression, training, benefits - outweigh salary alone for the majority of employees."
Northern Ireland workers saw average salaries increasing by 2.8%. That growth was led by digital technology roles, which saw the highest rise at 4.5% with engineering and manufacturing, posting an average increase of 3.9%.