The number of professional job vacancies dropped by 2% between July and September, when compared to the previous three months.
August was the strongest month of the period, with September recording a 16.7% decline in job opportunities as firms re-evaluated hiring needs, seasonal variations and continued economic uncertainties, according to the Morgan McKinley Quarterly Employment Monitor.
However, while the various segments all performed differently, a common theme was the lower availability of suitable candidates amid a tight labour market.
“The life science and engineering sectors experienced a remarkable 24% increase in hiring demand,” said Trayc Keevans, Global FDI Director, Morgan McKinley Ireland.
“Multinational companies benefited from this growth, but it posed challenges for SMEs struggling to compete and maintain competitive compensation levels.”
“Recruitment demand focused on specialised roles like biologics experts who understand complex biological systems, regulatory affairs professionals ensuring compliance, and qualified persons (QPs) certifying product quality.”
Morgan McKinley also found that in the engineering sector, senior roles in maintenance engineering and reliability saw rising demand as facilities around the country expanded.
“Companies faced difficulties attracting local automation engineers and often sought talent overseas,” Ms Keevans said.
“The continued limited availability of accommodation in Ireland further complicated recruitment efforts.”
The research also found that despite layoffs at major tech firms, demand for tech talent remained strong.
“Laid-off professionals are quickly rehired due to sector competitiveness,” Ms Keevans said.
“Cybersecurity roles are in high demand, driven by cyber threats in financial services. QA and software testing positions are growing, reflecting a return to traditional tech roles.”
“DevOps engineers and full-stack developers are also seeing increased demand for company-specific needs. Companies are seeking to hire senior-level AI talent to lead development.”
The analysis also found that demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) specialists continued to rise.
However, finding qualified candidates with the required skills was a challenge.
“Companies competed for top ESG talent with higher salaries and benefits,” Ms Keevans added.
Almost two thirds of the jobs on offer during the quarter were permanent, a significant 17% increase on the previous three month period.
But when compared to the same timeframe in 2022, permanent positions were down a third and contract jobs 8% were lower.
When it came to those seeking jobs, the report found the numbers were down 21% on the previous three months.
Morgan McKinley thinks the drop may be partly due to the large number of job seekers recorded in April as a result of graduate candidates entering the market.
The financial services sector saw a slight decrease in both professionals entering the market and in job openings during the quarter.
“This was primarily due to extended hiring processes and a cautious approach by employers, many of whom temporarily halted recruitment to assess budgets for 2024,” said Ms Keevans.
“However, a return to hiring was observed in September, particularly in banking, insurance, asset management and payments.”
The legal sector saw a 15% decline in job openings but in the accountancy and finance sector, the situation was stable.
Construction struggled with a shortage of new graduates and professionals at junior levels.