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ManpowerGroup Ireland Employment Outlook Results Q3 2020

Written by: Paul Howard
Published on: 9 Jun 2020

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Irish Hiring Confidence Falls but Majority of Employers Expect Bounce Back Within One Year

  • Irish Employment Outlook drops to lowest level in a decade
  • Restaurants and Hotels worst hit sectors by COVID-19 outbreak
  • Pharmaceutical Industry shines with sector reporting positive hiring plans for Q3


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Irish hiring confidence has dropped to its Lowest Level in over Ten Years according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey released on June 9th 2020. Employers report the weakest confidence since Q1 2010 with an Outlook of -11%, a 21 percentage-point drop when compared with previous quarter. Despite this sharp drop across seven of the eight industries, 56% of employers expect hiring to return to pre-COVID levels within the next 12 months.


The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey published its Q3 2020 findings on June 9th and is based on responses from over 377 employers in Ireland. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter. It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind. Below is a sector by sector breakdown of the survey results for Ireland.


Chris Gray, ManpowerGroup Ireland Managing Director, said: “The COVID-19 outbreak has naturally swept through the business community and caused employers to re-assess headcounts in the short-term. Employers in the Restaurants and Hotels sector have been particularly hard-hit with the lowest Outlook we’ve seen recorded for any sector in Ireland. However, the fact that more than half of organisations anticipate hiring activity to resume to pre-crisis levels within just one year shows the true resilience of Irish businesses.”


One bright spot has been Ireland’s Pharmaceutical industry, which continues to drive steadily forward into Q3 with the only positive sector Outlook in the survey. Many of the more established organisations are maintaining if not boosting their activity to continue to support the fight against COVID-19.


Considering that 83% of Construction employers surveyed acknowledge that COVID-19 has suspended their business activity, the sector has not been as adversely affected as expected. Throughout the initial lockdown it was well reported that building sites would be among the first areas to reopen, which has meant that hiring intentions have not fallen at the same rate as other industries. Many big-name employers are still planning ahead with an eye on reopening hiring discussions around permanent roles. Similarly, employers in Construction are the most confident of a swift bounce-back with 30% anticipating hiring activity to return to normal within just three months.”


Irish Q3 Hiring Plans, Impact of COVID-19 on Business Activity and Future Hiring Trends.

Note - ‘Net Employment Outlook’ is calculated by subtracting those employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff. A positive result indicates that more employers plan to increase rather than decrease staffing levels; a negative result reflects the opposite. 



Net Employment Outlook Q3 2020

Percentage of employers with at least 50% of business suspended


Percentage of employers anticipating return to pre-COVID levels within 12 months






Restaurants & Hotels












Finance & Business Services




Wholesale & Retail Trade




Other Services (Public & Social, Transport, Storage & Communication)




Other Production (Mining & Quarrying; Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing; and Electricity, Gas & Water) 





One notable finding to be made in the report highlights the significant difference between large scale enterprises (> 250 employees) and small scale businesses (< 50 employees) in the report. Smaller businesses are finding the going particularly tough with over 72% indicating adverse business conditions when compared to larger businesses at only 47%, indicating a lesser impact on larger scale enterprises overall in the Irish economy. 


The labour market in Ireland has experienced a very challenging time over the past number of months and is slowly now poised to start on the road to recovery as a result of the Covid 19 outbreak. The Irish government recently announced their 4 Phase Plan for re-opening the Irish economy and getting employees back to work. Phase 1 began on May 18th with the relaunch of the construction sector, outdoor businesses, and some retail businesses where social distancing can be implemented safely. Phase 2 followed on June 8th with the opening of most retail businesses which will get many employees in that hard hit sector back to work earlier than anticipated.


The overall hiring mood in Ireland is cautious at present as most businesses are reluctant to add to their staffing numbers during this highly uncertain time. Many businesses have put a complete freeze on hiring programs while others have opted for contract/short term arrangements as a risk reduction strategy. Some companies have paused permanent roles that were nearing completion in March/April and some businesses operating in the worst effected sectors have chosen to scale back their temporary staff completely. Some sectors have shown to be resilient in Ireland over the past 3 months, specifically Life Science, Logistics, Healthcare, Information Technology, Pharmaceutical, High Value Start Ups, Manufacturing and Online Retailers


Businesses in Ireland are optimistic that the announcement of the Phased Reopening program for returning to work will see the current pressures on cashflow/revenues ease to a degree. Businesses reacted positively to the recent announcements that Government Support Schemes (Wage Subsidy Scheme, Working Capital Scheme) have been extended until the end of August 2020. We anticipate an improvement in the business climate in Ireland in the coming months as the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak appears to be behind us based on current global trends.




Contact ManpowerGroup Ireland for Further Employment Information

For further details on this employment survey: 

Call us on 01 6455232


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