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Executive Summary from Osborne CEO and Owner Shona McManus

2020 and 2021 will always be remembered as a time of exceptional challenge, change and adaptability. It was and still is a time where the resilience of the Irish workforce was tested and pushed to the limit as organisations across Ireland deployed their teams to fully work from home.

Organisations and their employees were forced to adapt quickly to the new ways of working in order to continue to serve their clients while also maintaining a sense of company culture while working remotely.

Technology has been the saving grace of the past 12 months and has perhaps changed the way we work forever. Increased flexibility and a work/life balance has in the past been a major selling point in terms of attracting and retaining employees. Now as we prepare to return to the workplace, a more hybrid style of working is taking centre stage which includes a blend of working onsite and remotely as candidates and employees no longer want long commutes. The talent pool has been widened exponentially with employers no longer restricted to hiring staff within commutable distance.

The Hybrid Model

The benefits of this hybrid model, which includes working full time on site, full time remotely or a blend of both, has been felt by businesses in regional locations who are now more then ever facing competition from larger multinationals who can offer higher salaries and benefits with a working from home model. We have had many instances of clients in Dublin for example, onboarding new employees who live in Cork or even internationally to work with their teams in Dublin.

Covid-19 has certainly catapulted the ‘way we work’ conversation years ahead into the future. In our recent return to work survey of 500 business owners, over 83% of respondents plan on offering employees a hybrid model of working going forward, however 16% of employers expect their staff to work onsite fulltime.

Several sectors and industries have thrived over the past 12 months including technology, life sciences, pharma, food production and manufacturing, financial and retail (grocery) while others in the tourism and hospitality sector suffered the biggest losses.

Hiring & Onboarding during Covid-19

Organisations have continued to hire and onboard through the pandemic. Our most recent Covid-19 Business Impact survey revealed that 58% of the organisations surveyed are forecasting a growth of headcount over the coming months with 47.5% of organisations having conducted interviews fully remote over the past 12 months.

The war for talent is raging again with Employers finding themselves in the midst of a candidate driven market. Ireland is rich with talent and is considered a knowledge economy with a highly advancing skilled workforce. A strategic objective for the Government is to continue to focus on developing skills for the future and future of work.

With that being said, we are currently seeing an increase in salaries possibly fuelled by the significant rise in counter offers being made. We have seen counter offers in the region of €5 – €13k more and in one instance a candidate was offered €20k more to stay with their current employer. 36% of organisations surveyed have increased salaries or bonuses over the past 3 months while the demand for temporary employees and fixed term contracts have seen an increase which has made the hiring process quicker and has minimised risk for the employer.

As the vaccination process speeds up and the country prepares for a full re-opening, 40.7% of business owners felt that vaccinations should be made mandatory in the workplace. *Osborne survey

Returning to the Workplace

As an employer, open, honest and regular communication with employees is key over the coming weeks and months as many employees will be returning to the workplace for the first time in almost 12 months. Our survey revealed that safety is the number one priority for employees returning to the workplace.

2020 and indeed 2021 will be a time we will never forget, however for all of its challenges and hardships, there have also been many positive learnings along the way with a brighter second half of 2021 on the cards as we take the crucial and safe steps towards a return to normality and the workplace for many businesses who have been working remotely since March 2020.

Markets are moving, trends are moving up and down all the time. What’s here and happening today could change in as little as 4 weeks time. Combine this with a changing workplace and hybrid working models the new norm looks set to be an exciting, dynamic and progressive future.

Download the full quarterly Osborne Salary guide –  Osborne Salary Guide 2021