Data from online job searches can reveal which jobs are most in demand, and which areas are facing potential labour shortages.

That is according to research from jobs website Indeed economist Pawel Adrjan and Central Bank economist Reamonn Lydon. 

Researchers from both Indeed and the Central Bank have collaborated for the first time to discover what online data can tell us about the Irish labour market.

Analysing over 50,000 online job postings and searches on Indeed.ie, the researchers examined the imbalance between the supply of workers and demand from employers for staff. 

They developed a new measure of labour market tightness through analysing the number of "clicks" on a job posting. 

The research found that advertised salaries are significantly higher in jobs that receive fewer clicks, as this indicates that the supply of potential workers is low. 

Salary growth also tends to be higher in occupations where the aggregate number of clicks is low relative to the total number of jobs.

Hiring difficulties are greatest for high-skilled roles relating to healthcare, finance and engineering, the research shows. 

Job such as senior fund accountant, gastroenterologist and senior mechanical designer received the least clicks and therefore salary growth is expected to be higher than average in those roles.

The paper also noted that record employment levels are putting upward pressure on wages and salaries.

Indeed's economist Pawel Adrjan said the research has been a great example of private and public organisations working together and sharing knowledge to enhance the industry as a whole. 

"Online data is highly granular, which lets us measure areas such as detailed occupations, salary data and geographic areas," the economist said. 

He said that the recruitment process has changed dramatically in the internet era and nearly all job opportunities are now online, so it makes sense for us to use this data to examine wider economic trends in the labour market. 

"Our research provides clear evidence that online job search data can be a useful tool in understanding employment and wage trends, and help policymakers and forecasters by supplementing traditional data sources with ‘real-time’ insights," he added.

The paper, entitled "Clicks and jobs - measuring labour market tightness using online data", is the first in a collaboration that will in future look to explore other areas where online job search data can help inform economic research and forecasting.