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Recruiters say Ireland has handled Covid jobs crisis better than UK

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Praise: Donal O’Donoghue commented as UK recruiters warned of a looming crisis

Praise: Donal O’Donoghue commented as UK recruiters warned of a looming crisis

Praise: Donal O’Donoghue commented as UK recruiters warned of a looming crisis

Ireland has weathered the Covid-19 jobs crisis better than the UK, according to recruiters.

The president of the national organisation for recruitment firms said the jobs market here is likely to bounce back faster despite a 35pc plunge in permanent job vacancies since last year.

Donal O'Donoghue of the National Recruitment Federation was commenting after British recruiters warned that a jobs crisis is underway.

A survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation this week showed the collapse in the UK labour market only eased slightly last month.

It found the supply of available workers soared in June by the largest amount in more than a decade.

Mr O'Donoghue said the fall in vacancies and surge in job candidates here has been broadly similar to the UK experience.

Over a million people - or half the private sector workforce - are still reliant on State income supports.

However, he said the Government response in terms of wage supports and managing the virus has put Irish businesses in a better position.

"At a policy level, we performed better," said Mr O'Donoghue, who is managing director at Sanderson Recruitment.

"We are seeing some signs of recovery as we prepare for phase four of the roadmap to reopening Ireland.

"As our closest trading partner, the UK took quite a different approach to us.

"My view is that Ireland's decision to implement a wage subsidy scheme rather than the furlough scheme in the UK has had a positive impact on saving jobs and ensuring the viability of many businesses."

He said this was because the furlough scheme did not permit employees to work, although it was later amended to allow them work part-time.

"There is a definite sense that the worst of the decline is behind but we aren't out of the woods yet," he said.

A large pool of job candidates has pushed starting salaries down by as much as 6pc.

But there are still skills shortages in healthcare, technology, insurance, banking, pharma and the medical devices sectors, he said.

The Irish Government is set to announce a job stimulus package later this month, which is expected to include the extension of the wage subsidy scheme to include new recruits.

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that his government will pay employers a £1,000 (€1,100)bonus per employee who returns to work from furlough up to January.

Meanwhile, Ireland's front-line health workers should get extra paid leave due to their role battling coronavirus, the Dáil has been told.

Independent TD Denis Naughten said this is the "very least" they should be offered if pay increases or bonuses are not possible.

He said that many healthcare workers "placed themselves at risk to keep us safe".

Mr Naughten called for them to be recognised with additional paid leave to allow them to recover from working long hours in difficult circumstances.

He told Taoiseach Micheál Martin: "Now is the time for us to come together as a country and offer healthcare workers more than a round of applause."

Irish Independent