Business Irish

Saturday 24 February 2018

Five top recruitment challenges facing employers

A jobseeker reads notices of vacancies at a job centre
A jobseeker reads notices of vacancies at a job centre
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Unemployment has been falling steadily in recent years but now companies are beginning to feel the knock-on effect that saw so many emigrate during the recession.

From a mismatch in the number of skilled people available to a raging wage war we’ve documented some of the biggest challenges that are facing Ireland’s rapidly growing industries.

Managing director of Hays Recruitment in Ireland, Richard Eardley, said that there are a number of economic factors that are facing Ireland’s professional industries.

Skills mismatch

While Richard says that it isn’t an Ireland-specific problem in technology, skills mismatch is becoming an issue in the construction sector.

“Information technology (IT) is well-documented and it’s a global issue. Technology changes so quickly you can’t produce the skills quickly enough to keep up with the way technology changes. That’s a problem that all countries have.

“There is also a skills deficit in construction here. This has seemingly caught people by surprise. The construction industry has been coming on in the last while and it’s been getting better over the last 18 months but particularly this year,” Mr Eardley said.

Recession fears and emigration

The recession left a lasting effect on many families and resulted in huge emigration -  as a result we’re witnessing people returning home at a slow rate, riddled with scepticism.

“Architecture and engineering, whether it be civil, structural, mechanical or electrical engineering there are two factors. One is that the people who were doing those jobs eight years ago when there was last any demand either left the country or change professions because there was simply no work,” Richard said.

“Added to that people stopped studying for that degree and you wouldn’t blame them. During the height of the recession people chose not to study architecture and engineering because there weren’t any jobs available.

More women are needed in technology

While technology is traditionally known as a boys club, more and more women are getting involved in the field but Mr Eardley says that they need to increase that number even more so to meet the demand being created.

“I think we would welcome that a lot more people are pursuing IT courses. I think there’s a lot more that can be done to tackle the problem and one of the things that absolutely smacks you in the face is the low proportion of women in IT and this is perhaps because it is perceived as a geek in an Iron Maiden t-shirt in a dark room doing some coding. Whereas the reality is that most technology jobs these days is very, very creative and technology is now a creative career.

“Usually the participation rate for women in technology is very, very low. If we can get girls interested in technology then that would have the single biggest impact you could have,” Mr Eardley said.

In professions, the power lies with the employee

It seems like a pretty good time to be working in a profession in Ireland particularly in the construction, accountancy and technology sectors. An attitude change is taking place due to the shortage of skilled workers and now companies are shelling out to get the right skilled workers.

“If you’re an employee, particularly if you’re one of the above sectors, it’s not a bad problem because it means there’s a lot more pressure on salaries, there are options available for you career wise. But as a country it’s more of a challenge.”

More investment is needed in bringing through young tech staff

Finally, still on demand, Mr Eardley says that while Ireland has done a terrific job in bringing in the right kind of companies, more investment is needed to get the workers here to keep them.

“Ireland wants to be seen as a real hub for technology for example. Whilst it hasn’t reached critical point yet, in order to attract the kind of companies that you want to continue attracting you’ve got to have the people here to start those companies and Ireland has done an absolutely brilliant job on that so far.

“But we’re going to need to make sure that we’ve got the talent coming through so that we can do that in the future,” Mr Eardley said.

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