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IT Jobs Market 2021

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2020 was an interesting year for Ireland’s IT jobs market with the initial impact of Covid causing some companies to reassess their recruitment practices - either pausing or freezing completely. However, most sectors have bounced back since March and we even saw some companies take advantage of a less competitive market and increased their hiring plans. In 2021, we expect to see a release of this “pent-up demand” for candidates as businesses begin to move back towards BAU models.

 

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation projects that typically would have taken years to plan happened practically overnight or over a few weeks as COVID-19 restrictions forced companies to speed up their digital adaptions in what became an “adapt or die” environment. 2021 will see a further increase in demand for individuals with digital transformation experience as companies accelerate further the digitisation of their customer and supply chain interactions and of their internal operations.  

Companies who failed to innovate or tweak their processes to suit the demand of the market felt a larger impact than companies who remained agile and changed quickly depending on the market demands. Consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels during the pandemic, so companies are having to create digital or digitally enhanced offerings in response.

 

Cybersecurity

Unsurprisingly with the adoption of remote work and the planning for transition to the next “normal”, we have seen huge demand for infrastructure and security professionals which we foresee continuing in 2021. As organisations pivoted to work from home models, security engineers rushed to establish secure connections and prevent network threats that targeted remote workers. At the same time, with the surge in online shopping and e-commerce transactions, they had to bolster their organisation’s e-commerce platforms.

2021 will see organisations continue to increase their spend on cybersecurity as companies look to how they will operate in a post-pandemic world. With many organisations such as Google planning for a “Hybrid” work-from-home model, i.e. employees working a few days in the office and a few at home, network security will be a priority.

 

MedTech, Life Sciences and Healthcare

Given how health has never been more in focus than it has been in the past year, it is perhaps no surprise that there has been a huge demand for IT professionals in the wider health industry.

MedTech and Life Sciences companies are continually developing new and innovative treatments and consequentially developing technologies to enable this. We have seen an increase in demand of more “hybrid roles” such as IT professionals with experience working specifically within class 1 medical devices fields. Biotech and digital transformation within gene cell therapy in particular is set to be a large growth area for 2021.

Connected health is set to be a large growth area for 2021 also, as medical practices are forced to digitize and with telehealth being forecast to grow exponentially.

 

Candidate-led Market

Despite the initial dip in March 2020, the market very much remains candidate driven. Particularly now as candidates are no longer bound to jobs within commuting distance of the office.

Regional talent pools have flourished as candidates who would have worked in major cities, now have the opportunity to work remotely meaning they can move to their preferred location and still do the same job on the same salary as before. Regional companies also benefited as they are now able to tap into larger talent pools due to remote working practices.

Perhaps what has been most surprising about 2020, is that salaries have stayed relatively stable, but candidates have been seeking increases in their packages over base. With the increase in remote working opportunities, candidates are no longer distracted by “bells and whistles” (free food, ping pong tables etc.) and instead are more interested in actual projects, technologies being used and career growth and progression. Therefore, our advice to employers is consider how you are marketing your positions.

 

 

Contractors

We saw in our 2020 Q3 survey findings that many businesses looked to Contractors to fill gaps in their teams while coping with the uncertainty in the market due to COVID-19. From recent discussions with our clients this trend is likely to continue in 2021. We particularly foresee an increase in demand of contract roles for Frontend/Fullstack Developers, DevOps Engineers and Data Analysts.

As a result of the increase in demand, contract rates have been on the rise. With many large and SME organisations reverting to remote work this has opened the market up to all areas of Ireland. A big trend is seeing Contractors based in the regions now being able to work for the large organisations in the cities and receive the same rates of those based in the cities. Therefore, rates in the regional areas of Ireland have increased due to the remote access of new roles in the industry.

All-in-all, we are optimistic about the IT jobs market in 2021 with plentiful opportunities across digital transformation, cybersecurity, MedTech, pharma etc. The roll-out of the vaccine should increase confidence and create further opportunities as the year progresses.

 

Download our IT Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF)

Posted by Claire Kelly & Kevin Hearns on 13 January 2021

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Resignations Surge in September as Offices Re-open

Resignations Surge in September as Offices Re-open

Main Points Q3 record breaking recruitment placement results Highest in 20 years, peaking in September Up 44% for same period in 2020 Job orders in the first half of October are trending higher than any previous single month in company 20-year history The Talent Shortage Economy: Recruitment (for on-site labour and remote skills) is the single biggest threat to the Irish economy War for talent now being fought on two fronts: Battle for Retention internally and the Skills Struggle externally    “The Great Return is causing a Mass Exodus. The reopening of offices in September has prompted a new surge in resignations as Ireland now faces a Talent Crisis. Employers are increasingly requesting in-office presence and Employees are voting with their feet..” says Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, founding director Sigmar Recruitment:   Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements for Q3 (July, August, September) 2021, up 44% on the same period 2020. The figures released today top previous results recorded in Q2, 2021, with September recording the best single month ever in the 20-year history of Sigmar. Job orders in the first two weeks in October are trending higher than any single full month in the company’s 20-year history.   The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements, peaking initially in May. Summer months remained as strong, peaking once more in September. Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, founding director of Sigmar believes that the request to return to the office in September has caused employees to revolt, as they do not wish to return to pre-pandemic conditions and practices..   Commenting on the tightening of the labour market, Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “Demand for talent has remained at an all-time high for the second quarter in our 20-year history. It was somewhat unusual not to see demand abate over the summer months. Indeed, demand continued to increase over the summer, resulting in September’s record results. The rate of job requests  in the first two weeks of October is unprecedented, indicating continued in Q4 and raises the question of the sustainability of talent supply.   “Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunity no longer bound by location which is creating significant churn in the professional skills market. This last 18 months has seen employees demand greater flexibility. The request to return to the office by employers in September has prompted employees to reconsider whether they recommit or resign. Many are resigning.”   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 opened up new experiences and possibilities on a scale never before seen. In September, many employers have asked employees to “trial” living together once more, which in some cases leads to a reunion or in others to separation.   "Another factor, on the employee side is that of identity and how what we do makes up part of who we are as individuals. “This last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, mainly how our working lives interact with our lives and how we identify with our working lives. In the absence of a workplace we’ve reassessed the balance between who we are and what we do, resulting in lesser commitment to our working selves and therefore to our employers. Employee loyalty has therefore become increasingly under question with many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.”     Talent Shortage Economy Recruitment for both the on-site and remote talent remains the single largest threat to the Irish economy. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: ”We are seeing two macro trends converge at once, compounding demand for talent across all sectors – (1) supply of labour and (2)shortage of skills.”   The “high touch economy” for on-site labour in sectors such as construction, logistics, retail and hospitality are currently experiencing severe labour shortages. The disruption to international talent supply chains have caused significant bottlenecks to the supply of labour,  particularly effecting on-site, lower skilled jobs. On-going travel restrictions and pace vaccine rollout continue to impede immigration globally, but as an island nation we are now seeing the impact of this as demand recovers at pace.   The “low-touch economy”, on the other hand, where remote work is viable is experiencing greater churn due to the expansion of opportunity for skilled workers, shift in motivation, identity and desire for flexibility. This is now being experienced more acutely in Ireland as offices re-open and employees now vote with their feet, in choosing to resign over reengaging with employers in many cases. Demand has been particularly strong in IT, Financial Services and Life Sciences.    He adds: “If we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. Retaining workers rather than attracting them is now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”