Kieran McKeown, Matrix Recruitment's Managing Director, below gives an introduction to this year's 2021 Salary & Market Research Guide.
2021 Salary Guide Introduction
When researching for our 2021 salary guide, we looked at each job category we focus on and gave insights and trend predictions for each one. To receive your exclusive free copy, click here: 2021 Salary Guide
This time last year we were predicting that 2020 would be a relatively positive year for recruitment, with the continuing uncertainty over Brexit having the greatest potential for economic disruption. But all of that was knocked sideways as COVID-19 made itself known in March.
Recruitment, along with every other sector, was impacted dramatically by the pandemic. Since March, employers and employees have had to navigate a world where lockdowns, remote working, social distancing, and sector shutdowns became the norm. Workplaces have had to close, some temporarily, some indefinitely. For those who could continue to work, it has been a year of innovation, digitalisation, and adaptation.
As we launch our 2021 Salary Guide, we want to acknowledge where we are in terms of the employment market and where we are going in the 12 months ahead. Of course, we must also note that in this ever-changing landscape, it is difficult to predict all the changes that will occur in the months ahead. Some changes we have seen this year may be temporary, others may be more permanent, but we hope that our insights will give clients and candidates some reassurance as we move into a new year.
Permanent roles and temporary contracts
As 2020 began, the majority of our clients were seeking candidates for permanent roles. However, all that changed as the extent of the health crisis became ever more apparent. After WHO announced the pandemic, companies swiftly began to freeze recruitment and many had to furlough staff. As the year moved on and it became evident that COVID-19 was not going away any time soon, recruitment started to pick up, but things have not returned to normal and the recruitment sector has been turned on its head in terms of jobs and contracts now available.
Recruitment for permanent positions has dropped significantly this year. Instead, there has been a rise in the number of temporary and contract positions available in Ireland. We expect this trend to continue into 2021 and beyond as the economy attempts to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and companies struggle to make long-term appointment commitments.
As companies make cuts, we have also seen a rise in the number of skilled candidates seeking out employment. This is a complete reversal on the last year’s position where there was a skills shortage across many sectors of the economy. Many of these candidates are holding out for permanent positions. However, in doing so, they are significantly diminishing their chances of gaining employment. My advice for these candidates is to embrace contract roles and consider career options that may not have been on their radar before – daily rates for temporary contracts can be lucrative and are a missed opportunity for those looking to return to the workforce immediately.
Survive or thrive
Economically, Ireland is suffering, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has kept the wolves from business doors for now, but should the government decide not to extend the payment past April 1st, 2021, we may start to see the true damage of the pandemic on Irish businesses. The permanent closure of some companies and firms may begin, particularly in areas such as hospitality, which has been devastated by local lockdowns and the ban on non-essential travel.
While industries like leisure and hospitality have been hit hard, others have remained surprisingly robust. Healthcare and pharma have never been more relevant. Essential services, like retail and couriers, have been elevated in terms of their contribution to the economy and they too have witnessed large growth over the past number of months. e-Commerce, cybersecurity, and remote working technologies have also reaped the benefits of the pandemic and there is an opportunity for further growth in these areas in 2021.
Remote work & Flexi hours
Last year we said that location, traffic, property prices, and flexitime would be a focus when recruiting and retaining talent in 2020. Some of this certainly holds in a pandemic world, but not all.
There has been a renewed focus on flexitime, remote work, and location. Employers had to adapt quickly to a full-time remote model earlier this year to keep staff safe from COVID-19. This gave employers and employees a chance to experience working from home on a long-term basis and evidence suggests that the results are broadly positive. In the long term, we see companies introducing a hybrid model of remote work where staff will work from home a few days a week as well as attending the workplace. This benefit will become a key point of discussion during the recruitment process in the years ahead and will offer employees a positive work-life balance.
Of course, remote work is not enough to keep top talent from looking elsewhere. Employers will need to focus on staff welfare and strengthen work culture in the coming months to keep staff happy, especially as pay rises may be off the agenda for the foreseeable.
As we move into 2021, Matrix Recruitment promises to continue to work closely with clients and candidates to achieve the best possible outcome for both. We can advise and assist during the recruitment process, for both permanent and temporary recruitment assignments. At Matrix, we specialise in you.
Wishing you good health and good fortune in the year ahead,