According to a recent Robert Walters survey, an overwhelming 82% of employers in Ireland, regardless of company size, have experienced challenges when recruiting suitably qualified candidates. Robert Walters surveyed 102 organisations in Ireland to research the effects of both a candidate short market and the strategies businesses employ to manage them.
66% of employers stated the main recruitment challenge that they faced was candidates lacking the relevant skills, whilst 51% stated that the salary expectations of candidates were too high.
Shortage of candidates resulting in difficulty meeting deadlines and increased costs for employers
When asked how skills shortages have affected businesses, 55% of employers stated that they face increased difficulty in meeting deadlines and client expectations, while 29% stated it has increased the cost of retaining existing staff.
When navigating a candidate short market, employers should make retention of top performing staff a priority.
29% of hiring managers felt that talent shortages across all job functions have directly impacted on productivity. An overstretched workforce is a sure-fire recipe for employee discontent, with 26% stating a reduction in staff morale. To counter this, employers should take steps to increase the appeal of working for their business; for example, by offering greater autonomy, flexible working hours and clear opportunities for career progression.
Gemma Allen, Director at Robert Walters Ireland says: “By actively marketing your employer brand at the start of the interview process, employers have the opportunity to distinguish themselves from their competitors, putting them in an advantageous position to attract the best candidates in the market place.”
Companies need to review their existing recruitment strategies and long-term planning
When navigating a candidate short market, employers should make retention of top performing staff a priority. It is also essential that employers explain clearly the long-term benefits and opportunities that their organisation offers. Louise Campbell, Managing Director of Robert Walters Ireland says: “A significant number of companies acknowledge the importance of career progression or better work-life balance, yet to what extent do they actually deliver? Businesses that respond to what employees want from their career are more likely to develop a high level of trust with their staff.”
Equally important is ensuring that employers have the ability to attract the type of professionals with the right skill sets for their business. To focus the search and enable effective work with recruitment partners, drafting a list of essential V “nice to have” skills and competencies will assist in targeting suitable professionals from the wider market.
Use contract professionals and reduce the length of the recruitment process
Contract staff are frequently retained to cover skills shortages caused by a lack of available permanent candidates. With a pool of highly qualified professionals ready to start work at short notice, we have seen many companies turning to a contract solution in the Irish market. 41% of employers actively recruit contract staff to mitigate skills shortages rather than increase permanent headcount.
32% of employers think expediting the recruitment process is an advantage for hiring suitable candidates. A well managed and efficient hiring process gives insight into the attitude and values of a company, helping to secure candidate buy-in from the very beginning. To achieve this, it is vital that all decision makers have agreed to a defined recruitment timetable. In a buoyant market, companies that fail to reduce the time from interview to offer lose out to more flexible competitors.
You can find more comprehensive information on skills shortages in Ireland in our current Whitepaper here.