Irish SMEs competing for the best talent

11th May 2016 | News

New research from recruitment group Hays suggests smaller businesses are making up ground on their bigger competitors in the battle for enticing top talent to work for them.

For a number of years Irish SMEs have battled in vain to attract staff ahead of larger multinationals amid a so-called “war on talent”. However, staff retention measures are becoming increasingly important to small businesses competing with the larger multinationals, with remuneration and benefits now vital in closing the gap.

Richard Eardley, managing director, Hays Ireland, said: “As economic conditions continue to improve, recruitment is firmly back on the agenda for the vast majority of organisations in Ireland.”

Irish employees are becoming increasingly confident about their prospects for the future and are taking the opportunity to seek new exciting roles.

“Furthermore, increased business confidence, strong economic growth and major job creation announcements in recent months have not gone unnoticed by employees,” added Eardley.

“Given all these factors, it is now more important than ever before for employers to focus on retention and development strategies in order to retain their staff in an increasingly competitive market.”

Across a range of sectors SMEs are beginning to demonstrate legitimate competition to established companies, including accountancy and finance, insurance, financial services and life sciences.

The Hays report also indicates as many as two-thirds of Irish professionals anticipate a pay increase in the next 12 months; something that will cause concern to business representative bodies who have encouraged wage restraint in order to guarantee the nation’s competitiveness.

Yet despite a rise in the general business environment, salary increases have remained largely modest to date, with some notable exceptions in IT, construction and finance, according to the report.

More than a third (35 per cent) of employers said salaries have increased by 2.5 per cent or more in the last 12 months, with 65 per cent stating that salaries have increased by less than 2.5 per cent, remained the same or even decreased.