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Irish employers expect recruitment challenges to continue into 2022

1 Dec 2021

Half of Irish employers surveyed said skill shortages have impacted productivity and nearly three-quarters expect a continued shortage of suitable applicants in 2022.

A significant majority (91pc) of Irish employers have experienced recruitment challenges over the past 12 months. That’s according to a survey of 1,500 employers and professionals in Ireland by recruitment group Hays.

Most of the employers surveyed (84pc) intend to recruit in 2022, up from 78pc in 2021. But in response to ongoing skills shortages and recruitment challenges, employers are also 35pc more likely to counter-offer a resigning employee than they were pre-pandemic.

The Hays Ireland Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide 2022, based on a survey carried out this September, revealed that the recruitment challenges experienced by employers over the past year had knock-on effects on other areas of their businesses.

Productivity and profit margins were particularly impacted. Half of Irish-based employers surveyed said that ongoing skills shortages had a negative impact on organisational productivity, while 39pc claimed talent shortages have undermined their ability to deliver key projects and 30pc said it stalled their plans for expansion. One in five employers indicated that recruitment challenges were impacting their profitability and revenues.

Skills shortages have also impacted employee morale, business development and customer service, while 16pc of those surveyed felt innovation and creativity had suffered as a result of skills shortages.

The majority of employers (68pc) said they were unable to meet their recruitment and retention goals due to competition from other employers.

Other prominent reasons cited included a shortage of new talent entering their industry (33pc), individuals leaving to work in other industries (17pc), lack of opportunities for progression (14pc) and people moving to other geographic regions (13pc).

Negative perceptions or stereotypes of the industry were also a factor for the skills shortage, according to 12pc of respondents. One in 10 cited a lack of diversity among those entering their industry, while 8pc blamed the lack of entry-level graduate schemes.

‘The competition for talent has been a universal challenge for Irish-based employers throughout 2021’

In 2022, recruitment levels are projected by Hays to be the highest in five years as employers battle to retain talent. Many employers said they would make counter offers to employees that are resigning, with 86pc of those saying they hoped it would prevent talent from leaving, and 51pc saying it was the most cost-effective thing to do.

More than a quarter (29pc) said they would counter-offer resigning employees to avoid talent gaps, and 13pc said it provided an opportunity to rebalance salaries for individuals.

Just under three-quarters (73pc) of employers said they expect a continued shortage of suitable applicants in 2022, with 56pc anticipating unrealistic salary expectations on the part of applicants.

Maureen Lynch, director at Hays Ireland, acknowledged that “the competition for talent has been a universal challenge for Irish-based employers throughout 2021,” adding that Hays expects this trend to continue into the new year, based on the findings in the report.

“At a more macro-level, it is well documented that the Irish economy has rebounded strongly in the second half of the year and Irish employers understandably want to capitalise on this growth and position themselves for further expansion in the 12 months ahead,” Lynch said.

“To this end, it is important that we look to identify meaningful solutions, including tackling recent work permit delays, to alleviate ongoing recruitment pressures. The ability of employers to recruit and retain talent is integral to delivering upon their wider business objectives, including realising their growth projections, maximising revenues and ultimately driving the fundamentals of a healthy business environment.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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