Hiring obstacles - 85% of employers believe skills shortages will impact their hiring this year

Some 85% of Irish employers think skills shortages will impact their hiring plans in 2024.

Indeed, over half (57% ) of employers have stated that they are already finding it harder to attract and retain staff this year.

The findings come from a new poll of 2,000 Irish employers and professionals conducted by specialist recruitment company Robert Walters.

Raised Stakes and Expectations

When asked about the key factors contributing to their difficulties in hiring and retention – two-fifths (42% ) of Irish employers stated ‘too high salary expectations’.

Other contributing factors cited were higher competition for talent (38% ) and a lack of diverse talent (19% ).

Continued Skills Shortages

Skills shortages have been widely reported across the Republic in many different sectors including IT, Production Management, Engineering and Business.

85% of Irish employers think that skills shortages will impact their plans to hire this year.

60% of Irish employers plan to respond to skills shortages by upskilling their staff – whilst further techniques they plan to implement include diversifying talent pools (20% ) and skills-based hiring (20% ).

The Gender Pay Gap Problem

In Ireland, the gender pay gap in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors sits at almost a quarter (24.7% ) – well above the national average of 9.6%. (source )

However, the EU Pay Transparency Directive is set to change this. The regulation is due to be officially written into Irish legislation in June 2026. Though already companies with 150+ employees have to report their gender pay gaps on a three year to a yearly basis – though this is set to extend to companies with 100+ employees by 2028. Those with gender pay gaps of 5%+ will trigger joint assessment procedures, with the potential to incur fines from the Government.

When asked how they felt about the upcoming regulations, 86% of professionals stated they felt it will have a positive impact on hiring in the Republic.

Ways employers can boost levels of attraction and retention:

Optimising your EVP – having an effective employee value proposition is more important than ever and one of its cornerstones is promoting the right culture. Like offering mentorship and learning and development opportunities to show your culture as one dedicated to upskilling your workforce.

Upscaling Benefits – health focused benefits such as apps that help employee track their health, free or subsidised health screenings or therapy sessions; flexible working to aid work/life balance are high on the list.

Routes to Progression – if professionals see that you’re investing in them they may opt to work for you for the long-term earning and progression opportunities over a short-term salary bump.

Commitments to Equality – committing to business-wide equality targets can help make your company seem more accessible for diverse talent. However, opting for achievable goals that your company can achieve is key e.g. by 2030 your senior team will have a 50:50 gender split.


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