Friday 23 March 2018

Quarter of firms say emigration 'damaging' recruitment efforts

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

One in every four firms thinks emigration is damaging their ability to recruit the right staff as business managers are becoming more upbeat about the economy.

There was an increase in the number of firms signalling higher business volumes between April and June, with hiring up and layoffs down, according to the latest KBC Bank Ireland/ Chartered Accountants business sentiment study.

Austin Hughes, KBC Bank economist, said the summer survey suggested the business climate was continuing to improve, albeit incrementally.

The fact that recruitment was even on the agenda marked a change after years of declining payroll figures.

"The survey looks at the economy in a somewhat different way to national accounts data, comparing conditions across all sectors rather than trying to arrive at a summary numerical estimate of activity," Mr Hughes said.

"Consequently, it presents a different and arguably more broadly representative picture of recent trends in Ireland."

Mr Hughes said the positive trends were expected to continue in the next three months.

But he said it was surprising that so many firms felt that emigration was impacting on their ability to find staff.

"The survey isn't suggesting such problems are widespread but it does imply that the Irish jobs market is turning and the 'push' factor driving emigration may be waning," he said.

Key findings include:

* Business activity strengthened in the second quarter.

* Hiring is up while the number of people who have been made redundant is lower.

* About 25pc of businesses feel outward migration is affecting their ability to fill vacancies.

Pat Costello, chartered accountants chief executive, said the improvement in employment was the most encouraging aspect of the survey.

"There were notably fewer layoffs and some increased hiring in the past three months," Mr Costello said. "In part, this reflects stronger conditions in domestic-focused firms."

Irish Independent

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