Market Overview

Step into the dynamic world of 2022, where the labor market was as tight as a drum, with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.4% in October. While the hunger for talent continued to roar, job vacancies took a 9% dip in the third quarter. However, it's worth noting that this figure was still a whopping 33% higher than the pre-Covid era.

Fast forward to the present, and the latest IrishJobs Jobs Index paints a vivid picture. The glorious rebound in vacancy generation after the pandemic has hit its peak, and now mounting economic uncertainties are casting a heavy shadow on the hiring decisions of Irish firms.

Picture this: a scarcity of experienced applicants, ready to take a leap in their careers, is a monumental challenge across all sectors. Imagine the obstacles employers face when they have to fish in a small talent pool. Demands for enticing compensation packages and flexible working arrangements become a battle. Interestingly, despite employee preferences, the third quarter witnessed a surprising 9% decrease in work-from-home vacancies.

Hold on tight, because there's more to uncover. A recent survey conducted by PwC reveals that 56% of Irish workers are on the lookout for a job change in the coming year. What's their main motivator? A sweet salary increase, with a whopping 76% citing it as the ultimate reason for seeking greener pastures. But that's not all they desire. They also crave a fulfilling job where they can truly be themselves at work. Surprisingly, fewer than half of the respondents prioritize hybrid working, indicating a shift in the demand for hybrid and remote work arrangements.

Now, let's zoom out and take in the broader market overview. After the chaos of Covid-19, the economy thrived until the invasion of Ukraine in March 2022. Brace yourself for the high energy costs, surging inflation, and disrupted supply chains that set the stage for prolonged uncertainty well into 2023 and beyond.

Delve deeper into the data, and you'll discover that the October PMI survey from AIB paints a challenging picture. Manufacturing demand remained persistently weak as new orders declined for the fifth consecutive month. However, there's a silver lining as output and employment managed to inch forward, with firms chipping away at their backlogs. In the service sector, employment experienced its twentieth consecutive month of growth in October. The rate of expansion reached a three-month high, aligning with the strong trend of job creation.

But remember, uncertainty still lingers. The recent Central Bank Quarterly Bulletin sounded the alarm, emphasizing the highly uncertain economic outlook. Energy-driven inflation has resulted in skyrocketing consumer prices and business costs, placing a burden on household spending and business investments in the near term.

As we navigate these turbulent times, it's clear that the labor market's pulse beats with a mix of challenges, aspirations, and uncertainties.