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Record Hiring Plans for Ireland in Q4 2021

Written by: Paul Howard
Published on: 13 Sep 2021


Banner Image Q4 2021


  • Strong national uptake of vaccinations helps boost the national Outlook to record high of +34% in Q4


  • Manufacturing & Logistics sectors lead the way for the national resurgence


  • Demand is outstripping supply as 72% of employers report they are struggling to fill roles





Employers across Ireland anticipate the highest level of hiring in 17 years, for the fourth quarter according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The Net Employment Outlook stands at +34%, the third strongest in Europe, behind France +37% and the Netherlands on +40%. A wave of optimism has washed over the Irish labour market with the strong uptake of vaccinations and removal of lockdown restrictions. The powerhouse behind this positivity is the manufacturing sector - up 53 percentage points from the previous year to +39% for Q4 2021.


The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is based on 420 employers in Ireland. Employers were asked whether they expect to increase, reduce or keep the same number of employees in the workforce. This quarter a record breaking 47% of employers reported intentions to increase their headcount in the coming quarter. The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is the most comprehensive forecast employment survey of its kind.


EMEA Counties

“There is a continued sense of optimism among employers across Ireland as we head into the fourth quarter of the year,” said John Galvin, Managing Director, ManpowerGroup Ireland. “As the severe COVID-19 restrictions have eased and the majority of the adult population is now fully vaccinated; we’re getting back to business as usual, and in many cases, organisations are planning for growth. This is great for workers as business confidence returns and employers hiring plans are boosted.”


Galvin continues: “Hiring intentions in the capital have shot up as we head into the end of the year, rising above the national Outlook at +39%. The green shoots we predicted in the spring time have bloomed as we see the retail, hospitality and other hard hit sectors, which faced the brunt of lockdown, come roaring back. This represents a promising sign for continued growth in hiring for Ireland as the regional economies tend to follow in Dublin’s footsteps.”


Similar to Manufacturing, the Other Services sector which includes Transport & Logistics is also poised for headcount growth, with the Outlook rising to 39% for the coming quarter. The Retail sector also intends to hire significantly, bouncing back with the promise of continued government employment supports for the industry remaining in place until March 2022. Elsewhere, the Finance and Business Service sector remains strong, up ten percentage points on last quarter to +20%.

However, the Construction industry is hit by limitations to supplies and hiring plans have contracted 19 percentage points from last quarters record high, yet the employers in the sector remain optimistic with a hiring Outlook of +20%.


Galvin continues “Ireland’s Manufacturing industry is recovering extremely quickly, with the highest bounce in hiring demand year-on-year of any sector. As an industry, Manufacturing was hardest hit in 2020 as lockdown restrictions and delays in raw materials stalled hiring throughout the year. Now the industry is steaming ahead to fill a back-log of orders which have built up over the last 18 months. As a result, we are seeing this sector performing above pre-pandemic hiring levels and seeking to lay strong staff foundations for growth as businesses are keen to prepare for the end of 2021 and beyond.”


Galvin adds: “With increased hiring intentions across all industries in Ireland, employers are continuously asking how will we fill these roles? As the labour market heats up we continue to face an acute talent shortage as we head into the final quarter of the year – currently 72% of employers are struggling to fill roles. Following 18 months of uncertainty which saw fewer migrant workers arriving in Ireland, coupled with changes in demands from what workers want – the growth of hybrid working, and more flexibility become big factors.

This leaves us with a talent gap where employers need to be investing in upskilling and retraining programmes now as long-term solutions to filling roles – it’s encouraging to see 40% of employers in the survey offering skills development as part of their talent attraction and retention strategies.”


Talent Shortages


Irish Hiring Plans by Industry Sectors, Regions and Organisation Size:


  • Nationwide, employers in all industry sectors report positive hiring plans for Q4 2021. Across sectors the Outlooks are reported as: Other Services (Public & Social, Transport, Storage & Communication) (+39%), Manufacturing (+39%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+31%), Finance and Business (+20%) and Construction (20%).


  • From a regional perspective, the results show that employers in Dublin are reporting positive hiring intent for Q4 with an Outlook of +39%. Elsewhere, employers report Outlooks of +44% in Munster, +23% in Leinster and +11% in Connaught.


  • Larger-sized organisations (250+ employees) are reporting the strongest hiring confidence for Q4 with an Outlook of +39%. Medium-sized organisations (50-249 employees) report a positive Outlook of +29% and small-sized organisations (10-49 employees) also report a positive Outlook of +21%.