Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Northern Ireland’s stunning capital city, Belfast, stands proud on the banks of the River Lagen…

What's it like to recruit in Belfast?

Northern Ireland’s stunning capital city, Belfast, stands proud on the banks of the River Lagen. The remarkable city, which was once unnerved by tales of the Troubles now poses as an outstanding tourist hotspot for those seeking a traditional Irish knees-up or those wanting to embrace the areas with deep-rooted links to the Titanic. Having a population of 339,579 - according to 2018 figures - the candidate and client market for recruiters is promising. But what does the recruitment scene look like for Belfast-based candidates?

Top destination for graduate opportunities

Research from AdView ranked Belfast as the fifth most popular UK destination for graduate job opportunities. The metrics analysed areas such as population growth, number of businesses, employment rates, year-on-year wage growth, number of internships, graduate schemes and average wages spent on average rent. So, consultants recruiting within the area may find it easier to attract graduate talent if the city’s offering is already appealing enough.

Worst place to be a jobseeker in the UK

Research compiled by job site Adzuna found that Belfast ranked as the sixth worst city to find a job. According to the research, 2.15 jobseekers are competing per vacancy, which makes the recruitment market that bit more competitive for candidates. So, consultants may find themselves being dragged from pillar to post when trying to fill positions for their clients, as well as scout out positions that will suit their candidates.


To find out about the hiring experience from a recruiter’s perspective, Recruitment Grapevine caught up with John Moore, Managing Director of Hays Northern Ireland

What do you enjoy about recruiting in Belfast?

Belfast is a medium-sized city growing in terms of population and is incredibly diverse and vibrant in employment terms. Having spent the last 13 years recruiting within the Belfast market, it’s been exciting to have seen growth in such a variety of sectors and some significant inward investment creating jobs at all levels.

What challenges do you face as a recruiter here?

Currently, there is a clear skills gap in Northern Ireland. This is felt keenly across a range of sectors - especially IT, accountancy and finance.

In addition to working more closely with experienced finance professionals, as well as networking with finance institutes, an area of development I have seen over a few years has been the graduate and emerging talent market as a response to the lack of experienced staff.

Encouraging businesses to recruit at graduate level and build a talent pipeline is key to being able to succession plan and build a strong team of dynamic professionals. It’s still noticeable that a lot of our graduate talent moves or stays away, and we need to see these professionals coming back to Belfast and taking up the opportunities that now exist here to build their careers.

What do you see coming up in Belfast’s future in terms of recruitment?

I definitely see Belfast as continuing to grow as a leader in the FinTech market. There will also be great opportunities for graduates and young professionals to establish their careers with significant diversity and mobility from both local, UK and global businesses based in Belfast.

Additionally, as the workplace continues to evolve, employers will introduce more and more flexible working styles, something which we are seeing an increase of in Belfast currently. Employers are much more open to recruiting candidates who prefer to work outside of the traditional 9-5 model, and recognising this will undoubtedly give them access to a larger talent pool as well as being more diverse and inclusive.

Employers are also starting to tailor their offerings to different generations as people are working longer, and soon we will have up to four generations working together in the same workplace.