As Ireland continues to impress as one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, the need for strong employees to meet the expanding workflow and business requirements is also growing.

Despite the pandemic, many industries are growing rapidly but there is one problem…

There are too many jobs and not enough candidates!

This has resulted in companies offering potential candidates a higher salary rate to compete for top talent. Current, or other potential employers, are then counter-offering. This effectively places the hiring managers in a bidding war for the candidate.

Managers must therefore make their proposal for the talent or lose out with the leverage typically sitting in one or more of the following areas:

  • salary
  • company benefits
  • company culture
  • career advancement and progression
  • work environment

The uncertainty of 2020 led to employees valuing other aspects of their jobs than just their monthly wage. Even more so for Gen Z as 29% said their salary was key to their engagement compared to 49% of those over 55.

More businesses than not are now evaluating how they can not only attract but retain employees to positively influence a potential candidate’s decision to join/stay with the company.

Strategic Talent Influences

Ireland has seen an increase in the rate of new opportunities across all sectors. Job vacancies in the science, medical and pharmaceutical industries were up at least 97% year on year. But nearly half of HR professionals said retention was the top talent management challenge and 36% said it was recruitment.

So, how do you influence top talent strategically?

Well, to combat the 5,780 job losses over the last 12 months (the highest annual total in 10 years,) organisations are now taking a more holistic approach to employee retention.

This all falls under a company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Its focus is specifically on the subtle elements of employee retention such as, building ‘team spirit’ and the perceived view (whether accurate or not) of working for the organisation. Global organisations are increasing their emphasis on improving employer branding, company culture and the working environment to assist in the retention and attraction of new talent.

These are all appealing factors a company can emphasise when trying to sway a candidate to either accept the job offer, remain in their position, or potentially not consider a career move in the first place.

On the other hand, for a company trying to attract this candidate, these EVP tactics can make the transition to a new employer all that much easier. This is placing the onus on a company to create an environment that allows them to be in a competitive position to lure the talent.

Gaining VS Retaining

Prior to the pandemic, overriding factors for gaining or retaining a candidate typically pivoted on either a remuneration package or career advancement potential. Unfortunately, the emphasis was usually on the former; remuneration, a reason that should not have been the overriding factor when selecting a career prospect.

However, COVID has resulted in a large percentage of the workforce in Ireland not being able to make a career move due to the uncertainty. The impact the pandemic has had on businesses has also meant a lot of employees have missed out on large salary increments that could typically have been made if the economy had been in a more stable and prosperous position. This strong theme in a more demanding market of opportunities and higher salaries has meant more people are searching for new career prospects and looking to benefit from it.

As for career advancement, opportunities had become stagnant in many companies but now the career hungry candidate will find plenty of opportunities in the market. However more importantly, these opportunities will find that candidate through strategic searching and proactive marketing presence of an organisation.

The pandemic also forced many businesses to work remotely and these altering working conditions for employees have deemed successful 18 months later. Working from home and flexible working are now an increasingly common and sought-after company benefit for candidates.

Explore more hiring trends in our downloadable e-guide.

Counter Offer Challenges

With all factors considered, this makes the latter stages of the recruitment process a tricky path to take for an organisation. There are two decision makers at play here:

  1. with talent to lose
  2. with talent to gain

Each has a budget to adhere to and is representing a company with an offer, a strong reputation, a current opportunity and career advancement potential that they can provide. Today’s candidate who knows their worth does not generally need to leverage their talents to prompt a counter offer as companies are creating a bidding war all by themselves to remain competitive.

If we combine this scenario with a candidate who knows how to negotiate or introduce a 3rd opportunity that may come along it becomes a very tough process for any Hiring Manager.

This climate can very easily leave candidates in a very strong position of control, where the options and offers are coming hard and fast and if the current options do not meet their preference, there will be another along shortly. Thus, leaving a situation where companies must develop or enhance their strategy for candidate attraction, and Hiring Managers specifically caught in a potential bidding war.

Losing out on a candidate and re-starting the hiring process is a costly and timely exercise, which has become too common a theme for Irish based companies. In order to avoid this, there needs to be an emphasis at every stage and touch point of the hiring process.

Using interviews for more than just candidate screening must be leveraged to give insight into the business culture and operations. When offering a role to a future employee there needs to be a strong understanding of an individual’s drivers and a careful handling of the offer delivery.

Looking for your next career move?

If a counter offer sounds attractive, we have plenty of jobs available in this demanding market. Browse all jobs here.