Hays Ireland jobs and employment blog


New year, new start - how to combat skills shortages in 2018

By Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

In my previous blog, I discussed the overriding sense of optimism for the year ahead which we have seen amongst Irish organisations. Our Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide shows that nearly three-quarters of employers plan to hire staff in the next 12 months, and the vast majority expect business activity levels to increase or stay the same.

Skills shortages remain a widespread challenge. A massive 98% of employers say they have experienced skills shortages in the past year, and over three-quarters say they have faced moderate to extreme shortages. The effects of which are already being felt by employers across Ireland, with half stating the shortages are negatively impacting productivity, and nearly a third recognise the damage done to business growth.

Skills shortages are also having a negative effect on employees, who are faced with increasing workloads but not enough resource. Our guide shows that over a third of employers have seen a negative impact on employee morale due to this increased pressure, and some have reported an increase in absenteeism due to workplace stress.

So what can be done to counter these issues and ensure our workforce is running at full steam?

Three areas to focus on in 2018:

1. Workforce planning needs to be a key strategic priority

Despite positivity around future business plans and activity, many employers are concerned about the impact that skills shortages are having on productivity and growth. Therefore, workforce planning needs to be at the top of the agenda and a core component of every business strategy.

Having an understanding of the range of workforce solutions available to you, and considering the most appropriate options to your organisation, will help to put the most effective strategies in place for both the short and long-term. Factoring in elements beyond your immediate people needs, including risk mitigation and cost management, will help to limit the impact of skills shortages and allow ambitious activity targets to be met.

2. Invest in your employer brand to compete for talent

Ensuring you have a strong employer brand has never been more essential given how prevalent the skills shortages are. With competition for candidates intensifying, you need to make sure you have a distinct offering that will appeal specifically to your target audience.

Building a strong employee value proposition is central to this. Benchmark your salaries accurately and position them correctly, make sure career progression opportunities and training investment are also publicised. Finally, employees want to be able to gain an insight into what it is truly like to work at your organisation, so they can assess their fit with your culture. More employees are actively seeking this information when considering a change in role, so ensure your organisation has a transparent message that is easily accessible online.

3. Utilise contingent workers for more than just projects

Employees are feeling the pressure of skills shortages within their organisation, which is fuelling dissatisfaction and damaging morale. Employers should, therefore, reconsider their approach to hiring temporary workers. Traditionally used to supplement projects where specific skillsets are required, or to meet peaks in demand, contingent workers could help alleviate some of the pressure caused by increased workloads. This will ensure growth plans can be sustained and targets met while improving the job satisfaction of permanent employees in the year ahead.

For further insight into salaries and trends that will impact on your organisation and workforce, request our latest copy of the Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends guide.

About this author

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.


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