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2018 has seen a sustained economic growth, tracking to deliver an increase of nearly 9% compared to the initial forecast of less than 5%. The rapidly growing economy is putting pressure on hiring markets with some key skill sets coming under increasing demand. Correspondingly, the unemployment forecast is favourably decreasing with an estimate of 5.7% by year end and continued decline forecast for 2019. We are now in an environment where the total number of individuals employed exceeds that reached during the peak of the economic spike in 2008.
Employment growth has been consistently positive across disciplines with some notable exceptions. Leading the way, understandably, is construction with technology, supply chain and general administration (which includes finance and office support) also performing well. Those tracking behind the general trend include retail and some areas of manufacturing.
This positive economic outlook has created demands across a number of key sectors with both indigenous and multinational organisations providing opportunities. Technology focused businesses are showing significant growth with the disruption of many traditional activities within Finance, Marketing, and Operations driving additional demands. Other sectors and disciplines showing notable growth include cyber security, software development, manufacturing engineers, supply chain professionals, quality analysts, project managers at all levels, funds professionals, commercial accountants and qualified accountants with 0-5 years PQE.
Preparation for GDPR and the ramifications of Brexit both positively impacted project orientated employment during 2018, however it remains to be seen whether the influence of Brexit will have a negative effect as that political thread unfolds during 2019. One side effect of the strong growth has been the extra pressure on the already stretched infrastructure, especially in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Dublin, in particular, has received negative publicity over the availability and cost of suitable housing with traffic issues compounding the problem. Investment decisions are being influenced by this and there has been a focus by the IDA to bring potential FDI employers to regional locations to help alleviate these issues.
Organisational and digital transformation have been very much to the forefront in 2018 with the need to change and transform driving demand across a number of sectors particularly within the services arena. We expect to see this trend continuing with ongoing requirements for people skilled in leading and organising change and technology projects.
With the economy at close to full employment we also expect that there will be increased pressure on salaries with an anticipated increase in wage inflation in 2019. We started to see this during 2018 with a significant increase in counter offers and much more vigorous attempts by organisation’s to retain their key talent. Long Term Incentive Plans have become more prevalent to try to hold and engage strategically important leadership talent. In addition, more organisation’s are investing in their Employee Value Propositions (EVP) to ensure that they have a strong market presence in the talent market.
Technology will also be seen to greater effect in 2019 with a significant drive to integrate more AI and Machine learning technology into the quest to identify better talent more efficiently and effectively. AI has received significant investment and it is expected that Digital & AI driven platforms will be more prevalent in 2019.
This year, we have added an extra dimension to our salary guide. We went one step further by conducting an in-depth workplace surveys with Irish based professionals, both employers and employees alike. The results of these surveys in turn will provide you with real life insights into the Irish workplace and what Irish professionals stance is on current trends within their industry.
We also surveyed a number of Irish employers, the respondents of which gave us valuable insights into hiring trends, talent attraction and retention, the impact Brexit is set to have on the Irish jobs market and the challenges associated with each of these. Some key findings from our survey included;
There is a wide range of benefits offered by employers across sectors varying from basic statutory offerings through to a comprehensive suite. Our continued findings are that businesses with a strong employer brand, offering comprehensive training and career development opportunities in addition to more holistic benefits are more successful in retaining and sourcing the most in-demand talent. Employers have become more consistent in examining their current reward structures with many re-aligning themselves to attract and retain employees. The development of a compelling employer value proposition is of crucial importance for successful ongoing talent attraction. The above and more will be featured and discussed further in our Benefits Guide which will be released later in the first half of 2019.
We hope you find this salary guide of value to you and your business. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients and and candidates that we have worked with over the last 30 years and we look forward to supporting you and your business into the future.
Morgan McKinley is optimistic for 2019 with all indicators suggesting it will be another strong year for job creation and growth. Despite the uncertainty about Brexit, we believe the fundamentals of the Irish economy are strong and we look forward to a positive year of growth and progress in 2019. We wish you and your business every success for the year ahead.