Posted on Wednesday 11 June 2014 by Ulster Business

Hiring plans on hold as Northern Ireland companies lag behind other UK regions

While hiring intentions are on hold in Northern Ireland, there's still demand for skilled workers in sectors such as engineering.

The majority of Northern Ireland companies expect to reduce headcount in the coming months, according to the latest survey from recruitment firm Manpower.

It's alone amongst the 12 UK regions in expecting a contraction, news which chimes with other economic surveys which suggest Northern Ireland's recovery continues to lag behind the UK as a whole.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from over 2,100 businesses across the UK and asks employers whether they intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.

The picture differs throughout the region, according to Amanda White, Operations Manager at Manpower, with Belfast showing signs of growth in employment.

"Belfast is a hot spot for inward investment, and we're seeing strong demand for candidates in hospitality and tourism, as well as those with skills in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"However, there's an ongoing talent mismatch, and that means we're not seeing any noticeable improvement in youth unemployment, with large numbers of 16-24 year-olds still looking for work. Anyone who up-skills in science and technology will be at an immediate advantage in today's market."

And despite the negative outlook, there are bright spots.

"We are also seeing reason for optimism in the supply chain and logistics industry and, as a result, we're noticing candidates becoming more confident in the labour market and considering making moves into new roles.

Meanwhile, a shortage of candidates in customer service and support roles may begin to have a positive effect on salaries in this area."

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