Irish recruitment intentions rise despite economic effects of Covid-19 – Hays

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  • Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, over three-quarters (78%) of Irish employers expect to recruit staff over the next 12 months;
  • Over half (53%) of Irish professionals anticipate they will change roles in the next 12 months, while 45% indicate they are considering career changes completely;
  • Close to half (46%) of employers are optimistic about the wider economic climate and employment opportunities over the next two-five years, while 65% of employees are concerned;
  • Hays Ireland Director Maureen Lynch, said: “In an evolving recruitment environment brought about the pandemic, to attract and retain the talent they need Irish employers must refresh their hiring strategy. Our research suggests Ireland has a workforce which is open to and considering not only role changes, but alternative career paths completely. Organisations must adapt now to avoid the loss of talent to competitors.”

As we continue with a new way of working in a Covid-19 world, there is a renewed focus on recruitment and retention for Irish employers. Recruiting experts, Hays, have gathered insights into Irish recruitment intentions and the economic outlook for 2021 and beyond. The Hays research surveyed 2,171 Irish employers and employees in a range of industry sectors during October and November 2020.

According to the findings, recruitment intentions are growing, and economic optimism remains steady. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, research shows that while businesses have been impacted, the outlook appears positive as on average 86% of employers expect their organisation’s activity levels to increase or at least stay the same over the next 12 months.

The research found that over three quarters (78%) of employers are planning on recruiting staff this year. Within this, over half (56%) are planning on recruiting permanent staff and one third (34%) intend to recruit temporary, contract or interim staff.

Compared to the Hays Career Insights Surveys, conducted in July 2020, findings indicate that there has been an improvement in hiring intentions since the first stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, despite the longevity of the challenges brought about by the virus, the number of employers intending to recruit permanent and temporary staff in the next 12 months has more than doubled (24% in July 2020 vs 56% in Jan 2021) and almost quadrupled (9% in July 2020 vs 34% in Jan 2021), respectively.

Recruitment intentions through 2020 into 2021: Hays
 July 2020January 2021
Irish employers recruiting permanent staff24%56%
Irish employers recruiting temporary staff9%34%

As Irish professionals reflected on their current and future career prospects, 36% say they are now more actively seeking to change roles. Over half (53%) of professionals anticipate they will change roles in the next 12 months. The main reasons professionals want to leave their current role are unsatisfactory pay or benefits packages (28%), followed by a lack of future opportunities (21%) and concerns about job security (17%).

Covid-19 pandemic a trigger to change roles

45% of professionals say they are considering career changes in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, whilst 17% plan to find a completely new career path in the near future. An indication of an unwillingness by the workforce to return to long commutes and office working, 57% say they plan to find a new role which has a mix of hybrid working, whilst 15% plan to secure a role which is entirely remote.

The Government’s National Remote Work Strategy has set a target of 20% of public sector workers to be working remotely and has pledged to deliver its proposals by the end of 2021. The Strategy’s primary objective is to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Economic optimism from employers

Close to half (46%) of Irish employers are optimistic about the wider economic climate and employment opportunities within the next two to five years, whereas 65% of professionals remain concerned for the same period. However, 23% of professionals say their employer has taken steps to reduce the uncertainty about their career prospects since March 2020.

To add to this, 58% of employers say they expect their organisation’s activity levels to increase over the next 12 months, while over a quarter (28%) expect their organisation’s activity levels to stay the same.

Almost three quarters (71%) of employers expect to hire to meet peaks in demand, 29% expect to hire for access to specific skills for one off projects, whilst 22% expect to hire to cover staff on long term leave. 15% of employers say they are planning on recruiting temporary or interim staff over the next 12 months as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Maureen Lynch, Director, Hays Ireland, said:

As we progress through our third and hopefully final lockdown in Ireland, our research offers some reassurance on the economy and recruitment intentions. Albeit a gradual increase, recruitment intentions in Ireland are growing and economic optimism is set to remain steady over the coming year.

“Jobseekers’ priorities have shifted in recent months. In an evolving recruitment environment brought about by the pandemic, to attract and retain the talent they need, Irish employers must refresh their hiring strategy. Our research suggests a workforce which is considering not only role changes, but alternative career paths. Organisations must adapt now to avoid the loss of talent to competitors.

“For employees, of which almost half (45%) are positive about their career prospects this year, there is a need to be ready for a competitive recruitment process if they are looking to change roles in 2021. Ensure that you can clearly demonstrate the value you can bring to a new role or a new organisation, especially in light of the current Covid-19 backdrop.”

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