by Orla Minogue
Since the early 2000s, a wave of prominent multinational companies such as Meta, Google, Indeed, and Twitter have established their presence in Ireland. They enticed staff with substantial salaries, comprehensive benefits, modern and luxurious offices, free lunches, flexible working and people-centric cultures. These Tech giants have been successful in attracting top-tier talent, leaving small and medium-sized businesses struggling to compete.
With 2023 having been such a turbulent year so far, we have seen devastating amounts of redundancies – mostly from these large corporations. Overextended budgets and excessive hiring practices have not only contributed to these layoffs but have also unleashed a surge of job seekers with inflated salary expectations. There is a demand now to bridge the gap between small-medium-sized companies and these candidates, to align their needs and expectations better on both sides.
Strategies for Tech employers to attract and retain exceptional talent:
Flexibility: Work/life balance has been at the forefront of discussion for the past three years as everyone was forced to rearrange their work and living conditions. Having the flexibility to be at home a few days a week has been vital for people improving their quality of life, and it is not something they are ready to sacrifice. We have seen a huge increase in offer rejections for roles that don’t cater for this, and we would strongly encourage companies to adopt this policy if they have not already. There are of course many positives from face-to-face interactions, but employees have also proven themselves capable of being productive from home and are now not willing to give up this lifestyle.
My colleague Lauren polled her LinkedIn connections on their preferred working arrangement. It was not surprising to see only 3% of 330 respondents voted to be in the office 100%, with 2-3 days per week in the office leading the vote at 37%.
Benefits Packages: if employers are struggling to meet candidates' expectations regarding base salaries, they need to provide alternative incentives. Healthcare and pensions are the main priorities for most candidates looking for permanent work. These offer security and stability, particularly if healthcare stretches to family cover. A bonus is also hugely important and can enhance an overall package enormously.
Focus on Growth: 9 out of 10 candidates that we speak to, who are on the hunt for a new role, are looking for progressive companies where they can expand their skillset. They want to know that there will be room for growth within the team or business if they join and are successful in the role. Employers highlighting these opportunities at interviews can significantly boost candidates' excitement about a company and increase the likelihood of them accepting remuneration packages slightly below what they might ideally want. This growth piece also ties into hiring for potential, and the importance of considering slightly less experienced candidates, who are eager to learn and show good promise.
The above points are tips for employers, but they are also particularly important for candidates to reflect on and evaluate what is most important to them. People can often get too tied up in salary and lose focus of opportunity and the potential future ahead. Smaller businesses, who might not be able to compete with multinational packages, often produce stronger employees as they have greater exposure to different areas of business, rather than being siloed into one vertical. However, getting that message across from the beginning of a recruitment process, and providing strong alternative compensation is vital to attract candidates in this market.