Sunday 20 October 2019

'Talent crisis' warning as Brexit drives up wages

Dublin’s docklands is at the centre of a boom in recruitment for financial firms
Dublin’s docklands is at the centre of a boom in recruitment for financial firms

Padraic Halpin and Simon Jessop

Ireland's allure as a post-Brexit base for global financial firms has driven wages for some roles higher with some positions offering 15pc more than a year ago.

Risk and compliance staff are particularly sought after, five of Dublin's leading recruitment consultants have told Reuters.

Expertise in data science and newer technologies such as payment platforms is also in demand. And upwards pressure on wages could continue, with the Central Bank expected to approve more firms' expansion plans in the coming months.

While the higher pay is good news for workers, it can bring concerns.

International financial firms only account for 2pc of Irish jobs but have contributed to a sharp fall in the overall jobless rate. The Central Bank said last week the economy could overheat if capacity constraints emerge in the labour market.

"Financial services is one of the areas seeing a definite spike in recruitment," said Gerard Murnaghan, vice president at job search site Indeed.

Its first-quarter postings were up 15pc year-on-year.

Although Ireland is widely considered the most vulnerable among EU members to any change in trade after Brexit, the financial services firms want to keep close access to clients after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Barclays, Legal & General Investment Management and Standard Life Aberdeen are among companies to pick Ireland as a post-Brexit base against stiff competition from rival centres including Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris.

Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig, Sigmar Recruitment's chief commercial officer, said headhunted personnel were securing increases of between 10pc and 15pc, with front-office staff able to command the highest salary jumps. Two-thirds of employers surveyed by Sigmar and accounting firm EY said they expected to give staff a pay rise in order to stop poaching by rivals, a practice already accounting for one in four hires.

"We have reached a tipping point ... this is a talent crisis."

Local banks Allied Irish Banks and Permanent TSB both said they had lost staff to international rivals in recent weeks, hobbled by a salary cap and ban on share-based remuneration.

Around a fifth of vacancies are being filled from abroad and more employers are also offering flexible working to help seal the deal.

Andrew Crawford, head of Experis Ireland, said applicants were coming from as far afield as Australia and the US, after many had left following the 2008 financial crisis. (Reuters)

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