The Citywide Employers’ Forum

Demand for staff is growing within all sectors, but there are fewer people available to fill vacancies.

The issue

A low unemployment rate combined with fears about job insecurity, and the potential restrictions on immigrants once the UK leaves the EU, are leading to labour and skills shortages.

What companies did

The Citywide Employers’ Forum has operated since 2012. Chaired by Michael Ryan, Vice-president and General Manager, Bombardier Belfast. It brings together over 50 employers from across the Greater Belfast area, to support the unemployed to build the skills and confidence they need to gain and sustain employment.

The Forum has worked in partnership with employers to develop employability strategies to help improve access to employment for marginalised groups.

Job Fairs aid the recruitment, application, and networking process, and are an ingenious way to meet the needs of both employers and potential employees.

To showcase job opportunities, two mini Jobs Fairs were held in the East Belfast area during May and October 2017. These events gave over 200 job seekers the opportunity to connect with employers early on, so that queries about the nature of job vacancies could be addressed, before attendees submitted job applications.

These events were supported by leading employers including: Advanced Community Care, Belfast City Council, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, BT, Firstsource Solutions, Henderson Retail, HMSHost UK, Home Bargains, Lidl, Mount Charles Group, Park Avenue Hotel, Radius Housing and Translink.


“Thank you for the opportunity to be present at such a successful event. I know both managers found the process very worthwhile”.

Gary Donegan, Area Manager, Home Bargains/T J Morris Ltd


Over 200 unemployed and long-term unemployed people connected with prospective employers. One employer, who had over 40 jobs on offer at the October event, interacted with numerous job seekers, 17 of which filled in and submitted job applications on the day
The Citywide Employers’ Forum contributed to making the jobs market more successful and vibrant, by making it easier, not harder, for employers to access the people they need
The Citywide Employers’ Forum helped job seekers retool their job search, and empowered employers to tap into this talent pool. These events played a role in enabling communities to work together to mitigate the economic challenges of unemployment