The Irish recruitment market is in the midst of an evolution as it reacts to, and predicts further, changes in technology, politics and the economy.
Cyber Security and Brexit are two key drivers, seeing the emergence of unique roles in response to a growing demand for online security specialists, and a jobs boost across supply chain, banking, pharma and science industries as major European businesses set their sights on the capital. That’s according to the latest figures from Brightwater’s annual salary survey.
The report found that overall Irish salaries saw a small but steady rise of around 5% across finance, HR, sales, marketing, engineering, supply chain, IT, legal and accountancy sectors, as employers continue to compete for skilled workers in a candidate-led market, with some sectors and specific roles seeing significant salary increases, financial benefits and non-monetary incentives.
Engineering, which has experienced growing salaries for the past two years, continued its upward trajectory with an average 8% increase on salaries across the sector, driven by a skills gap and growing manufacturing and technology industry. In recruitment terms, Brightwater saw a 12% increase in the number of roles it registered in the first eight months of 2018 in comparison to 2017, with positions split between management and experienced engineering posts.
In construction, a lack of skilled workers - particularly quantity surveyors and project managers - and competition to retain Irish engineers who might be keen to gain overseas experience in popular destinations such as the UK and Canada, is driving salaries up as more companies engage in counter offers in order to hold onto staff.
The housing issue which is prevalent in Ireland’s major centres such as Dublin, Cork and Galway in particular has also seen an increase in companies offering relocation packages or “sign on” bonuses to attract re-locators from Europe. In particular, Dublin based firms are seeing external factors such as rental market inflation impacting their ability to attract talent and thus there has been continued upward pressure on salaries in order to attract the best people.
It’s not so tough at the top either, with executive salaries increasing by up to 24% at senior level in sectors such as legal, accounting and finance – a sign that businesses are investing in their leadership teams to steer them through potentially tough times ahead.
Meanwhile GDPR, which came into effect in May 2018, has seen a demand for data protection officer roles, stretching across the majority of sectors but in particular across financial services, IT, legal, pharmaceutical, banking and digital marketing. Legal professionals with data privacy specialisms are also in high demand.
Financial packages are not the only draw for candidates as benefits continue to play a key part in the attraction and retention of staff. Companies are now more aware of their competitors’ offerings and are being forced to become more innovative in their remuneration and benefits packages. Pensions, private healthcare, free on-site breakfasts, workplace gyms, free fruit and yoga sessions are just some of the popular perks being used to attract the best candidates. Flexible ways of working are top of the agenda for both employers and job-seekers and are very important in an ever changing and diverse workforce, particularly for those in commuter towns and cities and employees with young families.
The annual research report is based on data taken from over 1500 respondents including employers and candidates across a range of sectors as well as data taken from job placements, and is undertaken by Brightwater throughout the year.
Commenting on the latest figures, Barbara McGrath, MD of the Brightwater Group, said:
“The recruitment sector has always been a strong barometer of social and economic trends and this year’s salary survey continues to reflect wider issues and predict future developments.
“Understandably, Brexit remains high on the agenda for firms as they look ahead to the economic landscape. Whilst uncertainty surrounding a deal may slow things somewhat for the first quarter of 2019, the signs are that Ireland will become a far more attractive place to do business which is good news for jobs and we are already seeing considerable positive movement, particularly within the banking, financial services, fund services and legal sectors.
“Overall, it remains a candidates’ market with job seekers moving quickly. Therefore those organisations who can move their recruitment and selection process promptly have an advantage in the market to secure the best talent.
“All indications are that recruitment requirements will continue in an upward trajectory across the majority of areas and that organisations will seek to hire those professionals who will give their companies a competitive edge.”
Barbara McGrath, MD of Brightwater Group, Annual Survey Overview https://vimeo.com/302451871
Estelle Davis, Managing Partner Brightwater, Exec Recruitment Overview https://vimeo.com/302457101/4789bdf238
Brightwater has offices in Dublin, Cork and Belfast, and employs 95 people across the island. It celebrates its 20th year in business this year.