What are the Biggest Hiring Trends in the Irish Tech Market Right Now?
by Michael Lantry
IT Jobs and Recruitment Insights
GemPool is working with some incredible tech companies in Ireland right now to help find them the right talent for their teams. As we talk to our clients to understand their needs, we have seen some trends emerging on what our clients are asking us to prioritise in our headhunting. Also, we are constantly talking to candidates in Ireland and across the EU every day.
These conversations tell us about what is really important to candidates and have helped us identify a few key trends. Today, I wanted to share some of these with you. I have broken this down into company hiring trends and candidate hiring trends.
Pressure to hire is high
Throughout 2020, many companies were prudent about hiring, to see how things would play out with Covid. But from the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, most companies were coming out of this and hiring again.
They had overcome the challenges of remote onboarding and remote working and now needed to get back to growth. This demand for talent has grown and grown throughout the year and the market can easily be described as hyper competitive.
The effect of this is that companies are scrambling to find solutions to their hiring challenges. This can take the form of increasing salaries and benefits on offer, building out internal recruitment teams, hiring fully remote staff to widen the search across the EU and enhanced relationships with recruitment agencies like GemPool.
Better relationships with recruitment agencies
We have seen a real shift in the kind of relationships that we have with our clients. This, in part, is due to decisions we made about how to deliver more value to our clients (i.e. work less roles but dive deeper into the sourcing to deliver stronger shortlists who are better qualified).
Companies are aware that agencies are experiencing high demand for their services and are prioritising clients who offer closer relationships (which increases chances of success) and stronger terms and conditions (retained or exclusive deals at higher percentages).
Ultimately if a company can get more value from a relationship with a recruitment agency, it’s a win win. For us, working less roles, but working them properly until filled is our top priority. This helps us build a stronger relationship and leaves us with a happier client.
Retention is a huge focus
One of the biggest consequences of this hyper competitive market is that companies are losing people. There has been plenty of talk about ‘The Great Resignation’. For employers, they are struggling to get the talent, and they are sometimes struggling to keep people too. This has put a lot of pressure on people and compounded issues around burnout and stress, which just further impacts retention levels.
Companies have had to look at how they keep staff. This is through improvements to benefits packages and salaries, but also how they can cultivate engagement, motivation and performance of their people. This is all while many teams are still fully remote. I see this as a huge opportunity and a positive factor. It means employers are focusing on their people and doing everything they can to take care of them. This can only be a good thing.
DEI is now widely known about and companies are proactively setting goals and defining policies in order to meet these goals. Part of this is how and who they hire. In the IT industry, it is particularly hard to build gender diverse teams. Let's be honest, it's mostly men. This stems back to how we educate our children and who ends up in Computer Science or related courses in college. For companies looking to have more gender balanced teams, this is a challenge.
Advice we have given to clients is to ensure that job specs are written in a way that encourages female applicants, rather than deter them. There are plenty of other initiatives that can really help.
The demand for fully remote working arrangements is now very strong. This is particularly the case with contractor candidates over permanent positions . However, we’ve heard demand from both sets of candidates.
At the very least, a role needs to be fully flexible and offer plenty of working from home with perhaps a day or two a week in the office (or less). For those asking people to be onsite every day, they will really struggle to attract talent.
Candidates really value this working flexibility and, as we have seen over the last 18 months, it works. The jury might be out about the long term impact to culture and performance in organisations with fully remote teams, but for now, this is what candidates seek.
Inflated Salary Requests
One consequence of the hyper competitive market is that candidates have control in the courtship between them and a potential employer. A term we have often heard mentioned in 2021 is that the market in Ireland is like the ‘wild west’. This refers to some of the crazy stuff that people have seen happen in the market.
This could be a candidate coming back on a very competitive offer (that meets a salary demand) to ask for a large sign-on bonus, or where candidates might have 4+ offers on the table and a counter off after that to consider. All of these things are fair enough, but also demonstrate the volatility of the market.
What we consistently see is the salary requests going up and up. Candidates know they can ask for more money and if they get it, then in theory, they are at market level. Eventually this inflation has to slow down, as there is a balance between a salary and what value one individual can bring to a company.
The ‘market’ level salaries at the start of 2021 are quite different from how the year will end. This makes it very hard for employers to keep up, as they need to decide if they pay new starters more than existing staff, in order to get them in the door.
As most candidates are highly sought after right now, they can be far more discerning about which company they choose to work for. They are looking to find alignment of values as well as strong remuneration and really interesting work. I think this is another huge positive as it will mean that, if a candidate does take an offer, they can get really excited about it and really start the role in the right mindset for success.
We hear candidates reject roles for minor reasons now that might have been things they would be more tolerable of in the past. An example of this might be someone turning down a role based on location as the commute is 30 mins. Now they only want to work somewhere that is 15 minutes or less from their home. And why not? I think it is very healthy to prioritise this work life balance and let it inform who you decide to work for.
So these are just a few key trends that we have seen throughout 2021 from talking to both clients and candidates in the tech market. It’s been a very turbulent, changeable market this year and sometimes has felt hard to keep up. For those companies who can adapt with the changes, they will be the winners. For candidates, they are driving the agenda on how, where and why they want to work. This is an exciting time to be in recruitment.
If you would like to read more about the tech market then visit our insights page. If you want to talk about any of these trends or have any questions, please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +353 87 7546 331.