HR Candidates Prioritising Career Development Over Job Security


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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