Changes of career the driving force behind job creation in Northern Ireland

Changes of career the driving force behind job creation in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland workers are feeling increasingly confident about switching jobs with one global recruitment firm witnessing a 40% increase in the number of permanent positions filled here.

Recruitment giant Hays saw a 25% increase in the number of jobs over the last six months of 2014.

That includes both temporary and permanent roles.

The firm has three offices in Northern Ireland, including one in Belfast city centre.

And it's the IT sector which has boosted the number of Northern Ireland's workers changing jobs, according to Hays' global finance director Paul Venables.

"Permanent positions are up 40% - the biggest growth was areas in IT, with a big pick-up in programmers, developers and data specialists," he said.

That increase is in partly down to fresh job creation, whereas the bulk is made up of workers jumping ship to new companies.

"There are a lot more of our professional candidates who are more comfortable about changing their jobs," he said.

"That's a good bellwether. And the big difference in the recovery is that it's areas outside London which are seeing the biggest growth.

"We have seen a pick-up in SMEs hiring a few more people, but the real job creation is people changing their career.

"And it's not salary levels that are driving this, but a lack of promotions within the company they are working for."

Mr Venables said the company had also witnessed an overall boost in the size of pay packets over the last six months.

Hays counts Moy Park, BT and EY among some of its biggest clients in Northern Ireland.

And as a result of a more fluid job market and increased workforce confidence, it has expanded its Northern Ireland team to 50.

"As a result of all this, we have increased our own head count in Northern Ireland," he said.

The latest increase is the second consecutive jump the firm has witnessed in its Northern Ireland arm.

The company's UK and Ireland business showed a growth in fees to £135m, while operating profits soared by 113% to £21m.

Profits across the company worldwide rose to £81.5m, up from £66.7m in the six months to December.

Meanwhile, dole claimants in Northern Ireland have dropped in number for the 25th month in a row.