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HR Candidates Prioritising Career Development Over Job Security

HR

Things have been looking up in the HR industry, specifically in Dublin and its surrounding counties. It is likely that this trend will slowly continue nationwide. HR departments are busier than ever and as they are faced with more and more pressing business demands, they are being forced to consider expanding their headcount. The swell of confidence in the HR jobs market is reflected in the number of HR departments that have experienced churn for the first time in 5+ years. This has had a knock on effect, creating more open vacancies which feed back into candidate confidence. When considering a move the priority has changed from job security to career development. Candidates are happier to risk leaving a permanent job for a contract one, if it’s going to add to their employability for future jobs.

 

Companies that have not increased headcount in their HR function, in line with a return to more buoyant business, are often looking to take on temporary HR resources to tide them over during busier periods.  These are usually at HR administration or HR generalist level or often they might look for specialist recruitment expertise to support on a ramp-up. We have seen a surprisingly high number of senior HR positions outside of Dublin, looking for specific skill sets such as union experience and multinational HR experience. However, at generalist level and in more junior level roles there has been less activity. For those returning to Ireland from abroad, or for those considering relocating from the greater Dublin area to elsewhere in Ireland they are still finding it slow.

 

We have also seen an increasing number of companies take on their first HR hire to build a HR function from scratch. Economic growth has seen small companies grow and HR is no longer a cost they can do without. It has become an essential area they are willing to invest in, to support and sustain further business growth. Similarly the emphasis is on the business partnering nature of HR, candidates don’t want to work in companies where HR is not valued. It is the companies where HR has strategic impact, that attract the top candidates and that have a best practice, progressive HR approach.

 

We are seeing starting salaries for people with little to no experience climb to €30,000 which is a noticeable increase from 2016. This trend continues up the chain. At generalist and business partner level the climb is steadier however, at manager and director level we again see a strengthened job market. Many senior candidates who changed jobs in the last few years had taken considerable pay cuts from their one time boom salary. Now at the top level while not necessarily matching the highest packages that people were being paid it is getting closer e.g. jobs that were paying €65-75k a year ago are now paying €80-100k. Salaries are not consistent across all industries and you will find a junior HR person with 1-2 years could be on a similar salary to another with 5 years due to the industry that they are in.

 

Salaries are increasing and those who are planning to change job should be looking for a pay rise from a new company. To retain staff you need to know what the market is offering and therefore what might be tempting them to leave. Similarly, in the hiring process a candidate is likely to have two or three offers on the table so it is important that you ascertain what their expectations are and what you have in your arsenal to lock down top talent. It’s is not just the basic salary that is important. Particularly in larger companies there are complex benefit packages on offer. If you can’t compete with benefits you may have to consider a basic salary 10–15k higher to compete with packages being offered elsewhere. Equally candidates are bench-marking when looking at the job market or requesting a pay review. HR candidates know about salary surveys and availability of data so they will seek out this information. While salaries are not consistent across different industries, if a better salary is available in a new industry this information might provide the impetus for a career move.

 

Posted by Kate Stewart, HR Recruitment Consultant on 4 December 2017

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Sigmar Announces “COVID Ready” Learning Partnership with Alison to Upskill Newly Unemployed

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Working From Home Guide

Working From Home Guide

As many of us have been plunged into working from home for the first time without warning, we may be struggling with where to start. Our normal routine has changed entirely leaving a lot of us wondering how you keep yourself motivated and productive. Read on for our top tips on making the most of working from home. 1. Working Space When it comes to setting up your working from home environment there is no one size fits all approach. While some people prefer one dedicated desk area that resembles an office work station, others prefer to change their environment throughout the day whether it be to sit at a desk space/their kitchen table for work that requires focus and concentration, their patio area for business calls/team meetings or their couch for catching up on emails. This is one of the key benefits of working from home - you get to decide on your ideal office set-up. However, while it can be tempting to lie in bed on your laptop all day, you are likely to tire of this and hurt your neck or back. What you want is a dedicated space that allows you to work productively with minimum distraction. Having a dedicated space also signals to your brain that you’re “at work” and puts you in the mind-frame of being productive. If working from home is a temporary measure for coronavirus, you probably don’t have that much equipment beyond a laptop. Laptops have bad ergonomics so it might be an idea to rise it on a pile of books and get a USB keyboard and mouse and treat it as a desktop. Or if you are enjoying working from home and see yourself continuing to work from home beyond coronavirus perhaps invest in a docking station and a second monitor. Stand-up desks are another popular option. A bar table or even a wide and tall surface in your home may be suitable for a couple hours a day. Switching your desk may energise you and increase your productivity for certain tasks. Finally, don’t forget to check your tech! Ensuring good connectivity at all times is fairly important for most online workers. Be prepared for an outage by having a back-up such as a mobile plan with extra data or a mobile router. After that make sure you have all the technology and tools you need to work effectively. From email and video conference software to collaboration tools - some of these may be new to you so take the time to get to grips with the basics. 2. Routine As mentioned, our normal routine has been changed, we’re no longer commuting, grabbing a coffee at the café around the corner from the office, chatting to colleagues in the canteen, attending meetings, visiting clients etc. Therefore, you will need to make a new routine to work from home. Triggers It’s important to identify “triggers” for yourself that signal to your brain that you are in work mode. Every article you read will tell you to make sure you get up and get dressed, while it is tempting to stay in your pyjamas for an hour, that hour can easily slip into a full day. After this incorporate the parts of your old routine that you benefitted from. Perhaps you enjoyed walking to work in the morning as it woke you up, if so, get outside for a walk first thing. Have a coffee in your garden/on your balcony to replace the one you had in your local café. Do an at home workout if you used to go to the gym in the morning. Set reminders to get away from your desk for five minutes every so often to mimic the breaks you took in the office to grab a coffee in the kitchen. Structure You are your own personal manager when working from home. Without things like in-person meetings to break your day, it can be easy to lose focus. Also your motivation naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day, so set yourself a schedule. List what you’ll do and then block times on your calendar as to when you will work on them. For me personally I like to block the first 2 hours of every morning for writing tasks as I find that’s when I am at my most creative. I then try to schedule video calls and meetings for the afternoon when I find my productivity is waning. Make sure to set fixed working hours for yourself. It can be tempting to stay logged on long past when you said you will finish but it is best to set up a consistent schedule with yourself so that you can make a clean break between “work” and “home”. Kill distractions Working from home and particularly at the moment it can be easy to let yourself be consumed by the news and social media. To counteract this, remove social networks from your internet browser bookmarks and log out of every account. Or create a work bookmark list and a personal bookmark list. Your work bookmark list will only consist of the bookmarks you need for your job and the personal list can include your social networks. You can hide your personal bookmark list during your working day to remove the impulse to click into social networks. 3. Stay Connected Naturally, given the anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and being unexpectedly thrown into working from home, it is natural to feel isolated. Instant messaging and video conferencing tools can make it easy to check in with your colleagues so make sure to schedule in some “non-work” related chats with your colleagues. Here in Sigmar, we schedule virtual coffee breaks with our colleagues, a ten-minute call to check in with each other and to have a chit-chat. This helps maintain team bonds and provides some light relief throughout your day. 4. Give Yourself a Break Being thrown into working from home, employees can often be harder on themselves about their productivity levels as they forget about the amount of distractions that come with working in an office environment. You might not have scheduled your coffee breaks when you worked in the office but regular breaks are important for maintaining focus and productivity so don’t be afraid to include them in your schedule. It could be a simple 10-minute break for a coffee or a snack or a few minutes to read an interesting article. Ideally, you should try to get some outdoor time during your lunch break too, so you don’t go stir crazy. Ultimately, what works best will vary from person to person so don’t be afraid to try things out over the next few weeks until you find your ideal set-up and structure. The most important thing is to find what helps you stay focused, while maintain a work life balance.