Workplace changes forcing employers in Ireland to rethink how they attract and retain talent

person filling out survey form

Employers in Ireland are encouraged to look beyond traditional means for additional ways to attract and retain talent, particularly those with critical skills. The advice by WTW (Willis Towers Watson), is underpinned by findings from the companies WTW Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey.

A total of 1,650 worldwide employers, including a sample from Ireland, participated in the 2021 – 2022 Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey, which was conducted between October 28 and December 10, 2021

Globally, the survey has identified that attraction and retention of employees remains a major concern amongst employers. Indeed, according to the survey, 70% of companies globally expect difficulties in attracting talent in 2022. That compares with the 54% that had difficulty attracting talent in the first half of 2021 and is almost double the 37% in 2020.

Pressures around retaining talent also remain a worry for global employers with 61% anticipating difficulties in keeping workers this year, up from 46% in the first half of 2021 and just 27% in 2020. Globally, the research found that employers were found to be having difficulties in attracting and retaining employees across the workforce, in particular areas such as digital talent (78%), sales force positions (48%), salaried employees (56%) and positions engaged in people analytics (47%).

Commenting on the research, Sarah McDonough, Employee Experience Leader, UK & Ireland at Willis Towers Watson, said: “This research is very informative and in many ways mirrors what we are seeing here in Ireland. Employers in Ireland are currently experiencing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining talent, particularly in critical-skill roles.”

“Unfortunately, employers here in Ireland do not see the situation improving in 2022 and a tighter labour market is persisting. As such, as employers across Ireland compete for talent, organisations are now increasingly looking for new ways to adapt to the new business environment and significant workforce changes. This is essential in order to reduce the pressure on attracting and keeping talent.”

A key finding of relevance to companies in Ireland concerned skills and future application, with 53% of companies globally expecting to focus on employee multi-skilling over the next three years, enabling talent to complete tasks across different jobs.

The survey also highlighted the importance of flexibility in terms of how employees work. Remote working has remained in place for many employees despite the lifting of COVID-19 government restrictions. This was evident in the survey as half of the employees surveyed globally are currently working remotely or a mix of onsite and remotely. Nearly half (48%) of companies expect their workforce to be working primarily remotely or a mix of onsite and remotely in three years. This is illustrative of how flexible work is no longer a differentiator, it is pervasive and expected by employees. It was noteworthy that although technology will be a key part of this flexibility, the survey found that less than a third of organisations globally are effective at using technology or analytics to track and measure the skills of existing employees.