Tuesday 20 March 2018

AdLib: Firms paying price for sky-high rents

Charity Institute Ireland boss Lucy Masterton is backing new ‘triple lock’ rules
Charity Institute Ireland boss Lucy Masterton is backing new ‘triple lock’ rules
Symphonic’s John Walsh who composed the score for films at the Solidarity Games

Michael Cullen

Keeping top staff has slipped to second place behind accommodation in the list of problems facing digital and tech companies, according to the latest market analysis and salary survey by recruitment group Prosperity. The sector cannot be sustained by local skills and Irish universities aren't providing enough suitably-qualified graduates.

Prosperity boss Gary Mullan says the reliance on hiring digital talent for clients has meant that 40pc of staff placed by the agency in recent years came from overseas. However, now the dearth of indigenous talent is exacerbated by rising costs in rental accommodation. While last year Prosperity had a rejection rate of about 15pc on job offers for candidates living abroad, the figure has doubled to 30pc.

Salaries elsewhere in the EU closely mirror Ireland but the cost of living is usually far lower. The shift in skills and supply and demand persuaded Mullan to look to Paris, Berlin and Lisbon. A mid-level user-experience designer would pay 80pc less for an apartment in Lisbon on a salary of just 10-15pc below what they could earn in Dublin.

If you bundle in Lisbon's transport costs - also 80pc less - and the cost of food, which is about half of what you pay in Dublin - and the sunshine, the maths doesn't exactly favour Ireland. The pay range for a front-end developer in Berlin is €42k to €60k-plus a year, which pretty much tracks the salary for an experienced developer in Dublin. Anecdotally, Prosperity is hearing from clients that foreign nationals are quitting good jobs in Dublin to move to cheaper rental markets.

Demand remains strong in Ireland for technical skills. Python specialists are difficult to find and companies are increasingly looking for front-end developers with strong JavaScript experience. UI experience is a real plus. Full-stack developers are in demand too. The growth in programmatic advertising is seeing a shortage of qualified candidates, along with performance marketing candidates, especially PPC and SEO specialists.

On the agency side, strategic planners, web usability experts, analytics specialists and digital account managers are sought after. Analytics and measurement is a growth area. Account managers and account directors are being recruited from agencies by multinationals paying up to a quarter more. That said, Mullan is seeing staff who left agencies to go client side return as they miss working in a smaller business where their input is more influential and management opportunities can be better.


Should marketers have to dress smartly every day, or should there be a more easy-going attitude? A survey of 1,200 by UK job hire company CV-Library shows that 67pc of marketers think that businesses shouldn't ditch dress codes in the workplace.

Two-thirds enjoy following a dress code, even though 87pc accept that how people dress at work has changed. Almost half said that dressing smart makes them appear more professional, with a similar number saying it makes them feel more competent. One in five said dressing how you like means you can show off your personality, while 37pc said dressing smart makes them less comfortable. Almost 46pc expect dress codes to become more casual.


Concerned about the impact of financial scandals on Ireland's charities, the body responsible for ensuring best practice is pushing new 'triple lock' rules as standard. Charity Institute Ireland (CII) boss Lucy Masterson says that for charities to be seen as credible they must have transparent reporting, best practice fundraising and proper governance.

The former McConnells Advertising and Dundrum Town Centre marketer says the 'triple lock' idea helps gives people some certainty that a charity is managed properly. Running a charity is complex, Masterson added, with financial obligations and trustee responsibilities growing more onerous. She insists that CII members are addressing the drop in public confidence in Ireland's charities.


Dublin City Council (DCC) has invited PR agencies to present proposals for a support programme. Managing the DCC tender is Brian Sparks at Agency Assessments. Meanwhile, the Public Relations Institute will hold its annual conference in the Print Works in Dublin Castle on October 19.

The theme is 'Crisis and Creativity - PR's Response to a World in Chassis'. No doubt, it's a play on Captain Boyle's "the world's in a terrible state o'chassis" reference to a troubled world in Sean O'Casey's 'Juno and the Paycock' and nothing to do with a car's bodywork.


Former ad agency creative Des Mullan directed two films accompanying the opening and closing ceremonies for the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Azerbaijan's capital Baku. The films were aired at the ceremonies on giant screens and on live TV. Richie Donnelly was the lighting cameraman and Symphonic's John Walsh composed the music score.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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