The start of 2017 has followed on from the last quarter of 2016 which saw a slight dip in confidence and thus the rate of new assignments. Anecdotally it would seem that Brexit is the main reason, particularly for Irish exporters most notably in the agrifood sector as the demand for executives is largely driven by economic factors. A slew of recent data and forecasts are all positive, although forecasting is difficult due to the uncertainty around Brexit and its implications for the Irish economy.
On the good news side of things overall unemployment continues to fall with the unemployment rate dropping to 7.3% during 2016, its lowest level in 8 years.
The outlook for 2017 it seems it will be a two sided story. Firstly, a slowdown for organisations with heavy UK exposure as they reorganise their businesses to account for the drop of the STG/EUR exchange rate and continued uncertainty over the form Brexit will take. The more positive story is the overall small increase of senior roles being seen, with the construction and tech sectors leading the way.