THE new year looks promising for professionals, with the number of job opportunities rising by 6pc.
Opportunities for highly skilled jobseekers, including computer developers, engineers and marketing executives, perked up towards the end of last year.
Professional job vacancies rose to 23,734 in the last three months of the year from 22,418 in the final quarter of the previous year, according to a new survey.
Professionals were able to cash in on bigger pay packets as demand rose, but the number of new jobseekers dwindled by 38pc due to emigration.
The Morgan McKinley firm, which carried out the survey, said the modest increase in job availability was "encouraging" and a "positive future indicator".
The figures were released after the latest Live Register data showed the pace of increase in numbers joining the dole queues was stabilising.
Chief operations officer at Morgan McKinley, Karen O'Flaherty, said hiring had "ramped up" because managers were keen to get the hiring of new staff completed before the new year.
She said multinational companies, shared services centres and businesses in the information and communications technology sector were at the forefront in the recruitment drive.
However, she said hiring was still hampered in Irish-owned small and medium-sized firms.
"Market sentiment is positive as we progress into the new year," said Ms O'Flaherty.
"Ireland has made a return to the bond market, our services sector is performing well due to a solid performance by Irish exports, and the IDA has reported its highest net job creation in over a decade, so we can expect increased confidence in the hiring market in 2013.
"Any signs of improved confidence in European economic issues should filter through to employers in Ireland so we will be watching this very carefully in the coming months."
She said employers were likely to free up their recruitment budgets, while executives could cash in on their desire to hold on to talent by negotiating better pay and remuneration packages.
Although the number of jobs increased in the last three months of the year, the number of jobs available fell by 16pc between November and December.
This is because of a traditional slowdown in the number of new jobs advertised close to Christmas.