Collins McNicholas Job Market Review Q1 2015

The economy has continued to improve in the first quarter of 2015, with noticeable benefits in the job market. Unemployment in March stood at 10%, down 0.1% from February and down 1.9% compared to March 2014. More positively, we are seeing a greater contribution to the economy coming from domestic sources of growth. The work of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland led to the creation of 15,500 net jobs last year and their work remains critical to the economic recovery. Collins McNicholas has seen jobs registered with our agency increase by 29% in the first three months of 2015 compared with Q4 2014. Similarly, the number of candidates registering with our website has increased by 28%. This reflects a broader optimism in the jobs market and suggests that candidates are now starting to look at their career options again, after an uncertain few years.

Unsurprisingly, the ICT sector continues to thrive with a strong demand for programmers with .Net and Java expertise as well as professionals with data analytics skills. Increased output of IT graduates, complemented by several retraining and upskilling programmes, has gone some way to alleviate the strain on labour demand in this sector. However, with demand likely to expand over the coming years more work needs to be done to ensure the labour market can supply enough skilled professionals to sustain the growth of the sector. This is particularly important when it comes to attracting multinational investment. Collins McNicholas would expect that the increased numbers studying ICT would start to have a positive impact on the labour supply by 2016.

Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing remains vital to regional labour markets and has shown steady growth over the last number of years. There have been several important investments in recent years, such as Regeneron who are investing $300 million in Limerick and will employ over 300 people. The Midlands received two notable investments with Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Alexion both investing in Athlone. The industry has been transforming in recent years and there is now a greater emphasis on R&D and on biopharmaceutical production. Retraining has been essential in this process, with NIBRT playing a key role in updating the skillset of pharmaceutical professionals. Medical device companies, of which indigenous companies make a sizeable contribution, have also been investing heavily in R&D. Business services are recruiting strongly, with demand for a variety of different skillsets, from HR and customer service skills, to accounting and marketing expertise. In particular, professionals that possess these skill sets in combination with a language are in high demand.

Although Dublin has been the focus of the recovery, government and state agencies have made it clear that they are prioritising job creation in the regions. The government investment of €250 million in 8 regional locations, which will be controlled by the IDA and EI, should make a significant difference to the competitiveness of the regions. This, combined with rising commercial and residential rent costs in the Dublin area, will push a greater proportion of investment towards regional locations.

At 10% unemployment remains high, but we have been experiencing a consistent decline in this rate over the last 3 years. Economic growth is gaining momentum, with IBEC expecting GDP to grow by 5.4% this year, and the unemployment rate to fall below 9% by the end of 2015. The government has set an ambitious target of full employment by 2018. In order to accomplish this, they should understand that job creation is only half the solution. Retraining the workforce, particularly those who are in long-term unemployment, is paramount to achieving the goal of full employment. Opportunities are improving and with a greater number of vacancies, over a broader cross-section of industries, a lot more people will enter the workforce in the coming year.


Niall Murray

Managing Director

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services

087 2860239