Poll: 51% of Firms Plan To Hire Staff This Year

More than half of firms in Northern Ireland plan to take on new staff this year, according to a survey.

The Employment Trends Survey compiled by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Accenture found that 51 per cent plan to expand their workforces.

The report is based on the responses of 81 businesses in Northern Ireland.

Forty-three per cent wanted to take on more permanent staff while a third hoped to increase temporary posts.

The survey also indicated growing opportunities for young people.

Just under half (47 per cent) said they expected to increase their apprenticeship intake while 42 per cent will recruit higher numbers of graduates.

Eighty-four per cent anticipate having roles suitable for young people aged between 16 and 24 who are seeking work.

Nigel Smyth, director of the CBI in Northern Ireland, said firms were “gearing up for a positive 2015 with over half planning to create jobs, most of which will be permanent”.

“Young people should find more chances to get a foot on the career ladder this year, with many firms looking to boost their intake of graduates and apprentices,” he said.

“We want to see everyone enjoy the rewards of the recovery and Northern Ireland has a big role in driving the UK economy forward.

“Growth should work for everyone and skills are the key route to ensuring that this happens through improved productivity and pay.”

Accenture’s managing director in the UK and Ireland, Olly Benzecry, said: “It’s important that growth works for every one, which means regions throughout the UK benefiting from the economic recovery and employers opening up different and more inclusive routes into their workforces.

“It’s very encouraging to hear that businesses in Northern Ireland are planning to build their workforces in the future by taking on more young people, including apprentices.

“It is also good to note that, within this mix, companies are recognising that they can enhance their competitiveness by harnessing the digital capabilities of these young people.”

The survey found 43 per cent of firms across the UK were planning pay rises in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI).

There was also a small increase in the proportion of companies UK-wide expecting to pay above RPI when compared with last year’s survey – 12 per cent in 2014 compared to 7 per cent in 2013

Low level of skills (63 per cent), closely followed by the burden of employment regulation (61 per cent) are seen as the greatest workforce threats to UK competitiveness – respondents believe this will still be the case in five years’ time (54 per cent).

Source: irishnews.com