Sunday 25 March 2018

Employers try 'gazumping' tactics to attract key staff as demand jumps

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

WITH echoes of the boom years, sought-after workers in finance and IT sectors -- and even construction -- are being swamped with jobs offers and promises of pay rises by their existing employers to stay put.

Within the past six months especially, seasoned employees in the sectors are finding themselves spoiled for choice, according to Mike McDonagh, business director at of recruitment firm Hays Ireland.

He said that more than half of in-demand professionals on the hunt for new roles are being offered three, four and even five jobs, as prospective employers line up to take on hard-to-find staff.

Emigration, seen across the country in the past few years, has contributed to a brain drain as young, mobile, professional workers upped sticks to places such as Canada, London and Australia to escape Ireland's economic plight.

Mr McDonagh said that hard-to-replace personnel who have told employers they're planning to jump ship are frequently offered pay rises of between 5pc and 10pc to stay. They're also being offered more responsibilities, a chance to manage a team, or greater access to training.

"There's a misconception in the professional sector that there's a large pool of talent that employers can fish from," explained Mr McDonagh.

He said that even in the construction sector, the hardest hit of any Irish industries since the economic implosion, key staff with knowledge of working on large-scale civil and commercial projects are being wooed by rival firms but incentivised to remain with their existing employers.

The gazumping of job offers isn't just happening by existing employers.

Mr McDonagh said that often, where a firm knows that a potential candidate they're after has four or five offers, employers are increasing the stakes, going all-in to make sure they clinch the new hire.

It's all redolent of the Celtic Tigers years when many companies fell over themselves to get staff. Employees were offered big cash payoffs if they found other staffers, while some were offered new cars for helping to fill vacancies.

In the US, where there's also a tight labour market in some professional sectors, companies such as Deloitte have been offering iPads, TVs, and cash for successful referrals.

Mr McDonagh said he expects the tight availability of specialised staff to persist in Ireland for another 18 months or so. He said his firm has already begun trying to entice Irish immigrants in Australia.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business