North’s jobs market remains healthy amidst Brexit uncertainty

    The latest report with Ulster Bank show the local labour market remains resilient, despite Brexit uncertainty

    THE north's job market remains resilient, despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty and continued lack of a local government, a new survey has revealed

    According to the latest The report with Ulster Bank, job creation remains healthy with 2 per cent annual growth recorded.

    The data, which highlights trends for both employers and employees across 32 categories, further shows that roles advertised by companies increased by 15 per cent overall in the last twelve months.

    This was boosted heavily by the IT and construction sectors, which saw an increase in advertised roles of 104 per cent and 59 per cent respectively over the year.

    Record highs were also noted in the areas of science, agricultural, pharmaceutical and food as well as big data and analytics.

    Looking beyond the relatively positive figures, Sam McIlveen, general manager of, believes businesses must be prepared for every Brexit eventuality.

    The UK is due to officially leave the EU on March 29.

    “The current lack of clarity coupled with ongoing skills shortages particularly in the IT sector creates a challenge for Northern Ireland firms so it is vital that companies are planning effectively whatever the Brexit outcome. Companies must continue to invest in attracting good people effectively and quickly to support their long-term business goals," Mr McIlveen said.

    “We’re not expecting a Brexit 'Big Bang' in April, we believe we’ll see the market adjust to the new trading arrangements with the EU and there will no doubt be winners and losers in the new dispensation."

    Ulster Bank chief economist, Richard Ramsey believes 2019 will be a more challenging year for the local jobs market, citing Brexit and a global economic slowdown as key factors.

    “Some sectors will be more exposed to these two issues than others will," Mr Ramsey said.

    "One of the most ‘Brexit-proof’ sectors has been IT. It continues to go from strength-to-strength with job vacancies more than doubling over the last year to a fresh record high. IT listings now account for more than one-in-seven of all job vacancies. Allied to IT is the growing niche area that is big data and analytics. These sectors are expected to continue on their growth trajectory and are worth watching this year. Filling these vacancies will be a challenge though with growing skills shortages in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland making retaining talent a priority in 2019."

    "The global slowdown is likely to dampen economic prospects in 2019. That said, ongoing skills shortages coupled with the need to replace EU-27 nationals leaving these shores, should provide a significant source of employment opportunities in 2019," he added.