Irish jobs market accelerates as industries prepare for lifting of lockdown restrictions – new jobs figures


Job postings experience 34% QoQ increase in Q1 2021 with overall vacancies up 5% YoY, according to latest Irish Jobs Index

  • Construction sector experiences strong growth in line with reopening 
  • Most resilient sectors include pharma, healthcare, and IT
  • Hospitality and retail remain among most subdued industries
  • GM Orla Moran: “To see an overall year-on-year growth of five percent compared to this time last year, is a testament to the resilience of Irish businesses across all sectors.”

The Irish jobs market has experienced an increase in job vacancies in the first three months of this year as industries prepare for the steady lifting of lockdown restrictions, according to the latest Irish Jobs Index from e-recruitment platform

The index, which analyses quarterly job vacancy data reveals that job postings for Q1 2021, were up 34% when compared to Q4 2020, showing early signs of an accelerated jobs market for the year ahead in line with the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination roll-out and the gradual easing of public health restrictions.

According to the data, overall jobs vacancies increased by 5% when compared to the same period in 2020, with industries including science, pharmaceuticals, and food (+102%, YoY), medical professionals and healthcare (+97%) and IT (+171%) showing the most resilience over the past twelve months.

Despite long periods of lockdown restrictions, the construction sector also experienced significant levels of growth in Q1 where job vacancies within the sector grew by 45% QoQ.

This growth comes as the Irish construction sector began to reopen last week, resulting in job postings within the sector increasing by 7% overall when compared to 2020.

Impact of continued Covid-19 restrictions

Although overall job vacancy figures point to positive trends in Ireland, sectoral data shows that sectors which remain closed under current public health restrictions, are experiencing subdued hiring activity. These industries include:

  • Hotel and catering ( -75% YoY)
  • Beauty, haircare, leisure, and sport (-72% YoY)
  • Retail, wholesale and purchasing ( -46% YoY)
  • Education, childcare, and training (-26% YoY)

Regional Overview

Regarding job vacancies by location, all but four counties experienced a rise in vacancies over the first quarter of the year. This is supported by the continued uptake of working from home jobs which were up 23% across the country compared to Q4 2020.

Ireland’s main cities have proven to be particularly resilient in the face of the third COVID-19 lockdown with all experiencing a rise in vacancy numbers quarter-on-quarter:

  • Dublin (+47% QoQ)
  • Limerick (+45% QoQ)
  • Waterford (+35% QoQ)
  • Galway (+21% QoQ)
  • Cork (+8% QoQ)


Orla Moran, General Manager of, said:

“According to our latest data, the Irish jobs market is steadily recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is an extremely encouraging sign as we look towards the next twelve months.

“If we analyse the overall vacancy figures there are two key points that we can derive. The quarterly figures help us to understand the ongoing progress that is being made, while the overall year-on-year comparisons show just how far we have come.

“To see an overall year-on-year growth of five percent compared to this time last year, is a testament to the resilience of Irish businesses who have been operating against a uniquely difficult economic backdrop.

“Looking towards the year ahead, overall general economic predictions are positive, with the Government’s latest Stability Programme Update projecting upward momentum in 2021, with increased consumer spending and, vitally, more people in work.

“The anticipated reopening of sectors such as hospitality and retail, will play a significant role in this recovery and gives us reason to believe that there will be continued growth within the employment market over the next twelve-month period.

“However, this will be a challenging process and one that remains entirely dependent on the course of the vaccine rollout and the evolution of the virus, which we know are highly changeable.

For this reason, the next few months will be crucial. Representative bodies and the government must work together to ensure that there is a reasonable balance between public safety and the ability for newly reopened businesses to serve customers with as few impediments as possible.”

Chris Van Egeraat, Economic Geographer for the Irish Jobs Index said:

“Through our regional analysis of the data, one of the key trends that emerged is the resilience of Ireland’s leading cities specifically. Looking at the data, all counties with major cities are experiencing rising quarterly job vacancy numbers, despite the economic challenges of the past twelve months.

“Of the main cities, Limerick demonstrated particularly notable growth, recording a quarterly increase of 45% and an increase of 92% when compared to the same period last year. This growth can largely be attributed to the number of pharmaceutical employers within Limerick, which has inevitably boosted the city’s job numbers.

“Another trend worth noting is the consistent growth of Working from Home roles, which may also be contributing to the widespread regional growth. These vacancies have increased strongly in successive quarters and continue to do so, even in those quarters less affected by Level 5 public health restrictions. This indicates that growth in Working from Home vacancies may now be an established trend rather than a one-off response to the initial Covid-19 impact.”


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