The New Year is upon us. A time associated since time immemorial with rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation. While for many of us this means cutting down on how much we drink, quitting smoking, going to the gym more often and making better food choices, the New Year is also a historically busy time for job markets.


New Year, new you?

The first quarter of the New Year is always a period of turbulence, evolution and revolution for businesses and the people they employ. Many employees find that with the New Year should come a change in their career. Some are looking to re-invent themselves with a change in career direction, while others decide that it’s time to shake themselves out of career complacency and decide to aim higher in the new year, setting their sights on new opportunities in their chosen field.

By that same token, businesses who have seen a strong 2018 can go into 2019 with a bullish sensibility and may decide that 2019 will be a year of growth and expansion. Yet, in order to facilitate this, they know that they will need the right infrastructure of personnel to achieve sustainable growth.

This may be particularly applicable to Ireland, which has seen the highest GDP growth in the entire EU in 2018 at an impressive 5.6%. With all signs pointing to a bright economic future for the emerald isle, recruiters are faced with a double-edged sword.

The booming economy is accompanied by plummeting unemployment rates and while this is great news for the wider economy and the country as a whole it presents some trying challenges for enterprises desperate to source top tier candidates. Here we’ll take a closer look at the Irish economy, the potential impact of Brexit, the impact that the new digital economy may have on Ireland’s job market and what employers can do if they find that they become frustrated fishing for the best talent in an increasingly shallow pool.


Could the strength of the Irish economy make recruiting staff more difficult in 2019?

There can be no denying that Ireland is enjoying something of an economic boom, placing the country in what Prof Neil Gibson, chief economist at EY Ireland, described to Silicone Republic as a “position of strength”. Ireland’s strong domestic economic surge may be instrumental in helping it to weather the challenges of a global economy that shows signs of slowing. Gibson is quick to point out that even something as encouraging as a strong economy can bring its pitfalls and challenges;

“… This growth brings with it new problems, such as labour shortages, rising prices and pressure on public services – each of which will provide major challenges for policymakers and business alike.”

EY predicts a 2.7% rise for employment growth while unemployment could drop by as much as 4.9% in 2019. With a potential 3.6% surge in wage growth, which could double in certain sectors such as construction and IT, time will tell if this proves a boon for recruiters.

On the one hand, robust wage growth could encourage talented and well qualified candidates to start searching for new jobs when they were not motivated to do so before. However, candidates who feel that they are financially fulfilled by their current position may feel less inclined to look for work elsewhere.


But what about Brexit?

It’s impossible to have a discussion about Ireland’s economic future without discussing Brexit. Given the fundamentally contentious nature of Brexit, there are many experts on either side of the Leave / Remain argument either giving hearty reassurances and prognosticating doom and gloom. Due to the nebulous nature of negotiations, it’s difficult to gauge with complete accuracy just how Brexit will affect the Irish economy and job market.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressed his confidence last month that even in the event of an economically calamitous “No Deal” Brexit, Ireland’s strong economic position will insulate it from the lion’s share of the economic risk. The Fine Gael leader stated that the Irish economy was so “strong, we’d continue to grow and not go into recession”. While the World Trade Organisation warns that a “No Deal” Brexit could almost halve growth in 2019 from 4.2% to 2.6%, a Brexit of any kind could still see an influx of multinational bases from London to the more economically verdant pastures of Dublin.

This could place a further drain on the Irish talent pool as indigenous Irish businesses face new competition from multinationals and English businesses competing for talented and experienced candidates.


The future is data driven

Aside from economic factors, we must also consider the impact that a changing technological landscape may have on the economy and job market in Ireland. Tech companies are also bullish about 2019 with Dell industries claiming that it we will face the “year of the data driven digital economy” which will play a huge part in transforming work, business and day to day life in the country.

An increased emphasis on AI, machine learning and automation could lead to greater productivity and profitability for businesses, yet it could also have an undetermined impact on the job market.


More employment, more problems

As we can see, while the future looks bright for the economy, with the potential for growth even in the event of a “No Deal” Brexit, the job market faces some prospective challenges in 2019. An influx of business from overseas, emerging technological trends and robust wage growth can create both opportunity and challenge for the jobs market. In order to get their hands on the top tier talent that they will need to capitalise on this economic surge, employers will likely need a helping hand.


Could PRL Recruitment be your business’ lifeline?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes may struggle alone to find the best candidates in a shallow talent pool. Fortunately, they have access to a lifeline in PRL Recruitment. We’ve been sourcing top level talent since 1973. We’ve weathered numerous economic booms and downturns over the years and know how to look for those elusive yet talented candidates who can help your business to reach new heights of success in 2019.

If you have your sights set on growth and prosperity yet struggle to find the candidates who can propel you towards them, give us a call today – 01 668 5144