Job market predictions for Q3 (Sponsored)

Aug 13, 2020

By Ed Heffernan, Managing Partner at Barden

Almost immediately following Stage 3 of the lockdown, job numbers in Ireland began to pick up.  However, according to the latest Irish Jobs employment index (23 July), by the end of June overall vacancies still remained 54% below February’s pre-COVID index levels. While this number will have climbed gradually through July, it still points to a significant gap between where we were and where we are now. 

So, where are we going? Little is likely to change in August while everyone is on their staycations, but come September (and schools reopening) we can expect to see the finance jobs market return to what will be the new norm… at least for a while. Here are our predictions for what is most likely to happen over the coming months.

Predicted spike in job numbers across the board in September through to mid-October

This will likely be an artificial spike caused by pent up demand, typical seasonal swings in activity and by businesses attempting to implement what is left of their 2020 strategy while planning for 2021.  Also, while many finance teams have been making do with the resources they had during lockdown, many finance directors will begin to look to fill the gaps that occurred naturally over the last 6mths. 

September will see perhaps 75-80% of February’s pre COVID index levels.

The jobs market will have receded back somewhat to more a “new norm level” by November

We predict it will be 65-70% of February’s pre-COVID index levels.  The reality of emerging supply and demand dynamics, the pressure on cash for almost all small businesses and the looming spectre of Brexit will all act to dampen any further recovery in the short-term.

The above predictions do not account for a significant second wave.  While that would be catastrophic for many in hospitality, retail and related sectors, many multinationals are now well attuned to virtual interviews and onboarding, so will likely continue business as usual from a recruitment point of view in spite of the lockdown levels. 

Other trends predicted in the newly published Career Guide from Accountancy Ireland and Barden are likely to play out as expected, including a spike in contract work preceding a recovery in permanent roles, slight but not significant downward pressure on salaries (most notably at the senior end) and increased demand for staff by accounting firms as more and more SMEs require support, banks begin to revalue commercial property assets and restructure commercial loans, and the myriad of obvious, and not so obvious, impacts of the pandemic begin to make themselves known.

To read more about career changes during COVID, read the latest issue of the Career Guide.

(This article is sponsored by Barden.)