Job postings for the final quarter of last year were 23% lower than the same time in 2019, according to figures published by e-recruitment platform IrishJobs.

Despite being in the grip of a third wave of Covid-19 cases, the jobs index - which analyses quarterly vacancy data - indicates that Ireland's employment market is showing positive signs of recovery.

The figures show that overall job vacancies increased by 5% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to the previous quarter.

According to the data, the most resilient sectors include - healthcare, pharmaceutical, IT and construction.

Other sectors posting vacancy growth in the final quarter of last year, despite experiencing year-on-year declines, include publishing, media and creative arts.

The data shows that sectors such as tourism, aviation, hospitality, beauty, haircare and leisure continue to suffer most as a result of the Covid-19 downturn.

The index also shows a sharp demand for remote working opportunities, with a 53% increase in people searching for work-from-home roles from January 2020 to December 2020. 

In correlation, the number of jobs advertised that offer work-from-home as an option, has increased by 1754% compared to this time last year, with a quarterly increase of 50%.

Orla Moran, General Manager of IrishJobs.ie, said the jobs index reveals the resilience of Irish businesses over the past number of months.

"Unlike the March-May lockdown, when the employment market experienced a sharp decline, job vacancies began to rise towards the latter half of the year.

"The growth in vacancies in the fourth quarter of last year is a particularly encouraging trend, illustrating how many businesses have continued to recruit despite the introduction of additional lockdown restrictions." she said.

However, Ms Moran said what we are experiencing is a two-speed job market.

"The professional services and exporting multinational sectors mostly shrug off the effects of the pandemic but service-oriented sectors, like hotels, beauty, and travel, whose employees and customers are required to be physically present, bear the brunt of the economic downturn," she said.