Growth in the market as more small businesses look towards hiring HR professionals…

Aileen McCarney 08.04.2019

As we come to the end of Q1, our expert recruitment consultants have provided insights into the current employment market within HR.

In this Q1 Review, we will be looking at; current trends within the market, talent attraction and retention, unique industry benefits, relevant skills and qualifications, notable behaviours from professionals and any legislation changes or political events set to have an impact on the industry. 


As we move into 2019, more and more small businesses are coming to the market seeking HR professionals. Whereas before it may have been a hiring need exclusively for larger companies, nowadays, due to overall industry growth, many small/medium businesses are requiring a full time HR professional as well. Before in said businesses the Finance Controller, CEO or Office Manager may have been the one responsible for the HR needs of the company. 

In terms of talent retention, remuneration isn’t necessarily what motivates employees to stay in a role. Instead, employees are looking towards improved work/life balance, flexitime and work from home options. If employers are able to facilitate these requests then generally, their attrition rates are greatly reduced and this in turn positively impacts on their talent attraction rates as well.
Moving on to talent attraction, the overall trend at the moment sees organisations seeking specialists in the areas of wellness and engagement. The HR discipline at the moment is one which currently can lend to attracting top talent. There is a gap in the market for this kind of expertise at the moment, as traditionally this function has been within the remit of HR Generalists / HRBP’s and so not a standalone role.


There have been some notable behaviours among HR professionals so far in 2019. This includes professionals taking a decrease in salary in favour of a better work/life balance. Some are taking this salary reduction simply to be closer to home and drastically shorten their commute. Company culture is a constant factor which is used as an attraction tool. 


Some examples of unique benefits found in the HR market include strong healthcare packages  not just for employees but for their families also. Benefits packages whereby an employee has a benefit funding of about 10-15% of their salary are also becoming more and more popular. This gives the employee the ability to spend the amount they choose personally. Travel vouchers are also more common this quarter - this is where an employee is given a travel voucher of approximately €350 per year for them to spend on bus, luas, DART or car fuel.

Relevant Skills and Qualifications:

  • Experience in employee relations is always in demand
  • Senior exposure to serious Employee Relations cases shows excellent decision making skills as well as demonstrating practice in employment law
  • Experience working on key HR projects for example implementing a HRIS, creating a new policy or managing a process of change are stand out achievements and show ambition and dedication

Legislation changes, political events and industry occurrences:

  • As with most industries, changes to Stamp 3 legislation to Stamp 1G has had an impact. In this instance, it has now allowed a pool of HR professionals to enter processes which is a big advantage to the industry. 

Read more key insights from our other market reviews

Aileen McCarney's picture
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