The number of high-skilled job vacancies rose by more than 12% in the year to June, according to the latest Employment Monitor from Morgan McKinley. Meanwhile the number of professionals seeking new roles fell 14.4% year on year - a reflection of falling unemployment in the country.

"We're seeing a real expansion of jobs in the market," Trayc Keevans, global FDI director at Morgan McKinley Ireland, said. "I think what we're seeing is almost a perfect storm of jobs being created from the Government agencies of IDA Ireland, which represented 52% increase in regional job creation since 2015. Enterprise Ireland, through the Strategic Development Fund, is also creating more jobs. As a result of that the employment opportunities are right across the country, they're not just in urban locations."

While the past few years has seen a significant concentration in job opportunities in Dublin, Morgan McKinley's latest survey has found that spreading nationally. Part of that is due to specific Government policy, while part of it is fuelled by firms looking to set-up in a lower cost environment. "Some of the key benefactors are regions that we wouldn't have seen significant investment in previous," she said. "More recently, Sligo has been a benefactor of some very interesting projects, I think the quality of the investments is significant." 

That has seen biotech, artificial intelligence and robotics firms all set up in regional locations - creating opportunities for skills that typically would not have been in demand outside of urban areas. Among the most sought-after talent are data scientists, fund accountants and quality engineers - with Brexit and the introduction of GDPR playing a significant role in shaping the kind of demand that currently exists.

But with fewer workers picking from a greater number of job opportunities, have firms had to improve the offers they make in order to lure in staff? "For some of the very niche skill sets that are new to the marketplace, they are having to look at the offering and make it attractive for people to take up the opportunities," Ms Keevans said. "I think they're also looking at their cost-base and where they're located.

"Now that there's a confidence emerging that skills can be acquired outside of the main locations it's making sense for them to look at strategic site locations, where they would attract a lower cost base but still be able to attract the skills and offer employees a quality of life and a cost of living that perhaps is more attractive to them," she added.

Employers are also continuing to rely on the international talent market in order to fill positions in Ireland, with Ms Keevans saying the battle for staff would be all the more intense if it was focused purely on Irish workers. That requires firms to provide adequate supports to those moving to Ireland for work - and in some instances it may also entail a certain amount of reassurance, as Ireland's infrastructural issues become more of a talking point abroad. 

"Certainly within the tech community there's word spreading that Ireland, and particularly Dublin, is becoming a difficult place to find quality, affordable accommodation", Ms Keevans. "It's causing some pause for thought and it's not something we would like to see, so we're hoping that the results of the Government initiatives will start to feed through."

***
MORNING BRIEFS - Netflix shares have fallen by more than 14% in aftermarket trading after the streaming video service announced what were seen as disappointing second quarter results. The firm said it added 5.2 million subscribers in the three month period - the same number recorded this time last year and one million lower than what was expected.

*** The number of high-skilled job vacancies rose by more than 12% in the year to June, according to the latest Employment Monitor from Morgan McKinley. Meanwhile the number of professionals seeking new roles fell 14.4% year on year - a reflection of falling unemployment in the country. Morgan McKinley says that data scientists, fund accountants and quality engineers were amongst the most in-demand workers - with an increased growth in vacancies coming outside of Dublin. 

*** The European Union and Japan are set to sign a landmark free trade deal later today, covering nearly a third of the world's GDP. The deal was negotiated last year, and sits in contrast with the increasingly protectionist stance of the US.

*** Swedish telecom operator Telia is to buy Danish operator TDC's Norwegian business for 21 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.6 billion). Telia said the acquisition would strengthen its position on the Norwegian market and position it as a "strong challenger" to incumbent Telenor.