employee benefits

What Employee Benefits Do Staff Want?

employee benefits

Sigmar surveyed 2,657 employees in Ireland on their attitude towards benefits. The research indicates that the most significant benefits to employees are: Private Health Insurance (84%), Pension (82%), Paid Sick Days (81%), Educational Support (79%) and Flexi-Time (75%).


“This is a particularly interesting time to examine the subject of employee benefits in Ireland,” says Sigmar HR Manager Jennifer Ward. “The need to keep costs low in recent years resulted in many companies reducing the number of employee benefits offered. However with the recent economic recovery many companies, particularly in the areas of multilingual, IT, pharmaceuticals and finance now face talent shortages and struggle to attract, motivate and retain staff.”


While employee benefits programmes are a significant investment for employers Ward believes they also provide an opportunity to establish a competitive advantage for their brand as an employer. “The challenge is to balance the goal of controlling costs, while at the same time providing a benefits package attractive enough to help attract and retain the highest calibre employees over the long-term.”


Ward is not surprised at some of the results. “There has been a palpable shift in employee expectations over the last number of years, and while a company car may have been of much higher significance during the boom, we are now returning to the staples of health care and pension, both of which many employees see as basics rather than benefits. What is surprising though, it that these benefits were important across all ages and not just for the older employees.”


With 75% of those surveyed rating flexible working hours as a significant benefit only 31% are in receipt of this benefit. Ward believes that this is an area that is very likely to become more topical in Ireland particularly in light of the controversial new rights to flexible working hours introduced to the UK’s 30-million strong workforce this week. She says, “employers are becoming increasingly under pressure to respect the personal demands on the employee whether it is for childcare or other personal reasons.”

Posted by Julia Purcell, Marketing and Communications Manager on 7 December 2017

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Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements over April, May, and June 2021. The number of placements during this period is higher than any other quarter in the recruitment company’s 20-year history. Current figures are up 6% on the previous record set in 2019 before the pandemic. As one of the largest recruiters in Ireland, Sigmar has offices across the country and is present in all professional sectors. The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements breaking all records in the month of May, with June accounting for the second-highest month ever. Commenting on the rebound of the labour market, Sigmar founding Director, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “The jobs market in Ireland has never been stronger or more buoyant than it currently is. We’re seeing several macro trends converge all at once, which is creating significant churn in the market. Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunities no longer bound by location. This is coupled with a rising tide of consumer confidence, as many professionals find themselves in a stronger financial position than before the pandemic. “The last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, and the humdrum of lockdown has created a desire for change which is now resulting in unprecedented numbers of people moving jobs. Employee loyalty is increasingly under question, with remote work being less enjoyable, many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.” IT accounted for one-third of all job placements throughout the quarter, followed in order by Financial Services, Sales & Marketing, Accountancy, Life Science & Manufacturing, Office Support, Public Sector, Construction, Professional Services. Business confidence has also grown steadily over the course of the year, as vaccination gathered momentum. The “low-touch economy” is booming is sectors such as e-commerce, digital, and logistics. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “The resurgence of permanent recruitment is somewhat unique to how we’ve rebounded from previous downturns, where we typically saw flexible work return quicker.” Although the vast majority of job placement in Q2 were understandably remote, Sigmar reports that the tide is beginning to change with the majority of employers now committing to hybrid work over the coming three months. Mac Giolla Phádraig advises: “As we now choose our workplaces, at a time when the power dynamic has shifted to the employee, employers need to ensure adequate work practices to reconnect the workforce with the workplace equitably. There is an inherent risk that new workforce inequities may emerge, such as “proximity bias”, where those closest to the centre of influence get greater recognition and therefore promotion opportunities as opposed to remote workers. When it comes to individual contribution the opposite could be argued that remote workers get the benefit of having less in-office distractions and their output is therefore greater.” Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long-distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. The context of location also opens up new experiences and possibilities, which are now being explored on a scale never before seen.” He adds, “if we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. It’s now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”