There's been a lot of speculation about how workplaces will change because of Covid. A workplace survey by Sigmar Recruitment and Aon has findings from 250 companies on whether we will return to the office full time. Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig MacGiolla Phádraig, CCO of Sigmar Recruitment and founder of the Talent Summit and Laura Phelan, occupational psychologist and MD at Aon talk to RTÉ's the Business. Listen Now - https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/radio1/21915388
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)
Taking on temporary staff can increase efficiency and productivity while offering workers flexibility. Here are some tips for finding the right candidates. Published in the Business Post 18th October 2020 The trend towards increased temporary and contract hiring has been magnified with the onset of Covid-19. Traditionally hired for cost-saving measures, temporary and contract staff are now hired more for their skills and expertise, for the efficiency and productivity they can bring and for the flexibility they give organisations. At Sigmar Recrutiment, we surveyed 1,000 companies in Ireland recently and 91 per cent said they were more likely to hire temps or contractors now than they were before Covid-19. This may be reflective of the need for flexibility in an abruptly volatile and uncertain market. The good news for employers, however, is that the pool of talent available for temp and contract work is probably the biggest it has been in a decade.Attitudes to this type of work have also changed post-Covid-19. In addition to our company survey, we surveyed 3,500 candidates and found that 82 per cent would be willing to consider temporary work if they were offered some flexibility, such as remote working. So, what is the best way to find and recruit these candidates? Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started. Dos: 1: Have a strategy for temps While recruiting temp or contract labour is sometimes brought on by unforeseen circumstances, successful hirers of temporary staff generally have a plan. Plans for 2021 are being formulated at most companies right now, so consider your plan for engaging flexible talent as part of your overall strategy. Who will own it, for example, HR, managers or procurement? Will you hire directly or through an agency? What is your projected spend – is it seasonal or year-round? 2: Have an EVP for flexible workers Employer brand and company culture are central to any talent acquisition strategy, but organisations predominantly focus on permanent hires. Multiple studies show the link between employee engagement and business performance. How costly is it to your brand if a temp worker is disengaged, feels undervalued, yet is customer facing for your company? Make sure you consider your employee value proposition (EVP) for temp workers. Get it right and it will yield a loyal and sustainable pipeline of flexible talent. 3: Be honest If there is potential for the job to turn permanent, shout this from the rooftops. In our recent survey, the possibility of a permanent post was the number one reason for candidates to consider a temp or contract role. On the other hand, if no permanent opportunity exists, be honest with this and manage expectations from the outset. Remember, many temporary and contract workers won’t consider a permanent job either, so honesty is always the best policy. 4: Consider a specialist partner At least consider the benefits a good agency partner can bring. Specialist agencies will already have pre-screened and pre-qualified candidates available immediately, saving you crucial time and effort. The agency takes on the costs of advertising across multiple channels, again saving you money and time. They look after employment contracts, help keep you compliant, and run payroll, saving you further on admin overheads. Good agencies can also validate salary levels and advise on availability of talent in the market. Don’ts: 1: Wait Apart from unexpected emergency cover, don’t wait until the last minute to look for temp or contract staff. Like all recruitment, forward planning will allow you to access better talent in higher numbers either directly or through a partner. 2: Ignore compliance Understand legislation as it applies to temps and contractors. Don’t assume that because they are temps, they have few or no rights. A good agency partner will help here. 3: Forget to measure No matter what size your flexible workforce is, don’t forget to audit it. How is spend on flexible workers controlled, for example, by HR, procurement or hiring managers? Keep an eye on tenures also. 4: Undervalue This is crucial. Remember, today’s temp may be tomorrow’s permanent member of staff. A good experience for a temp will encourage them to return, but also provides a rich pool from which permanent hires may come. While some view contractors as expensive, bear in mind the specialist expertise they can bring with them, and remember they can also transfer their knowledge to your internal staff, improving the overall level of expertise within your organisation.
The latest data from Sigmar Recruitment’s Employer Sentiment Report suggests that most companies plan on hiring more contingent labour in order to deal with the extended market turbulence. Having surveyed 1000 Irish based companies, 91% of respondents said they are more likely to hire temps or contractors than before COVID-19. Commenting on the results, Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment says; “This may signify a fundamental shift in how workforces will be constituted moving forward as employers are wary of future market shocks. Whilst demand has rebounded since March, companies just don’t know how the market will react to a possible second wave of infections, topped with Brexit fears, so there are still challenges ahead for organisations and as a result they are hesitant to commit to permanent hires.” One third of all companies surveyed said it was likely or highly likely that they would increase the % of temp/contract staff they already engage. “This is the norm in early stages of an extended recovery. Seeing this trend emerge at polar ends of the labour market is indicative of a new K-Shaped labour market.” says Rudden. He adds; “When viewed, in parallel with the explosion of the gig economy in the last decade, we now see increasing demand for temporary or contract workers in most white-collar industries, not just the traditional area of office/administration roles.” Companies surveyed expected requirements for temp/contract talent to be highest across IT, engineering & life sciences, accountancy, and HR along with office/administration. Hiring on a temporary or contract basis gives organisations an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ i.e. hiring initially on a temporary basis before converting to permanent. “Given companies’ uncertainty at present, this model is potentially a perfect solution that enables businesses to ramp up and meet demand while the future looks uncertain. At the same time, it enables jobseekers to find work quickly. In our corresponding survey of 3500 candidates, the majority said they were more likely to consider temp or contract work than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck,” says Rudden. Flexible labour in demand at polar ends of the economy; powering growth in recovering sectors and offering interim cover for harder hit sectors 91% of employers plan to expand contingent worker numbers as increasing uncertainty looms 82% of candidates would consider temp or contract positions if given more flexibility, like remote working Further, 82% of candidates said they would be more likely to consider temp or contract work if they were offered flexibility, such as remote working. This is significant change in attitude considering 60% of respondents had not worked in a temporary or contract capacity in the past two years. Rudden adds, “It likely not only reflects the impact of the current crisis in terms of people having lost employment but perhaps a wider acceptance that flexibility may be required as we move forward.” Whilst market uncertainty prevails, what is certain is that we are in the midst of an extended period of transformation in the workplace with blended workforces i.e. a mix of permanent and temp/contract staff perhaps becoming the norm. “Prior to COVID-19 there were already several examples of major multinationals with a significant proportion of staff engaged as agency temps or contractors. We predict an increase in such models being used by other businesses going forward,” says Rudden. For a copy of the report, contact Barry Rudden on +35314744612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sigmar Recruitment today announces the impact of its, not for profit, COVID Response Jobs initiative three months after its launch. The online platform was set up as the COVID crisis took hold, and subsequently saw six hundred thousand people lose their jobs. It was set up to connect jobseekers with frontline jobs, offer career advisory services as well as free up-skilling opportunities for the restricted workforce, ultimately to support a more robust and effective recovery. The initiative has since seen: 83,716 jobseekers’ availed of career advisory services ranging from; video interviewing, remote working, digital collaboration, social branding, job hunting in the low-touch economy to traditional advice on interview preparation, and CV content. 10,702 availed of free online upskilling, through learning partner Alison.com. Most common courses completed were in Project Management and MS Excel. 3,010 jobseekers connected with over 200 frontline employers across retail & grocery, catering, healthcare, supply chain, production, security, and warehousing. 900+ jobs advertised over the period. 15,050 jobseekers subscribed on weekly basis for employment insights. Commenting on the initial results, founder of the initiative and Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig said; “ We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of engagement amongst jobseekers coming to the site, particularly the quantum availing of the career advisory services, which have been tailor-made to support the remote job search in the current environment. Recruitment has changed significantly in recent months and how jobseekers compete is now very different from what it was. Our career advisory service has helped jobseekers articulate competencies and achievements through a digital recruitment process for a lower touch economy.” “In addition, we are delighted to have supported over 200 frontline employers in a meaningful way and in turn help keep the national infrastructure up and running.” Commenting on the take up of upskilling, Mac Giolla Phádraig added; “We had 10,702 people take up free learning pathways through our partner Alison.com, in subjects such as Project Management, MS Excel, Web development, Data Science, GDPR, Accounting and many more. In addition to skills training, the learning content has been COVID curated for maximum impact across Business Skills, IT Skills, Mental Health, and Personal Development. Thanking partners of the initiative, Mac Giolla Phádraig commented; “When times were at their worst, our partners were at their best. It’s humbling to see how our combined efforts, can touch so many at a time of need and to see the effect of Team Ireland in action.” www.covidresponsejobs.com was created by Sigmar Recruitment, supported by Candidate Manager, Alison.com, The Irish Times, Communicorp and Virgin Media
Sigmar Recruitment has today announced the appointment of Mike McDonagh as a Director of the company, as it gears operations towards supporting clients as markets recover. The appointment signals Sigmar’s ambition to build additional capacity as it continues to grow market share. Sigmar has fared better than most recruiters in the Irish market during the COVID crisis and has been at the forefront of industry response, launching https://www.covidresponsejobs.com/; an initiative to mobilise Ireland’s workforce and up-skill the restricted workforce for a more effective recovery. The appointment comes at a time when industry peers continue to retrench and signals Sigmar’s intention to continue to grow market share as green shoots appear. Mike is a highly respected industry leader with a significant pedigree in scaling successful recruitment businesses both in the UK and in Ireland. Most recently, Mike oversaw the growth of Hays Ireland as its Managing Director and previously served as Chairperson of Boardmatch, Ireland’s national corporate governance charity. Mike will join the leadership team to accelerate the growth of the core Irish business in delivering world class recruitment solutions and supporting international diversification. Welcoming Mike’s appointment, Adrian McGennis, CEO, Sigmar Recruitment said: “We are delighted with the appointment of Mike to the senior leadership team here at Sigmar. He has fitted in with the team and culture very smoothly. We knew Mike’s reputation, ambition and experience but our shared values make it an exciting appointment for everyone. It is consistent with our growth plans and whilst many are downsizing, we are delighted to continue to make key hires. Ten years ago, we saw the opportunity in a challenging/changing market to grow the business and because of our strong position and talented team, we see similar opportunities now.” Mike McDonagh commented; “I’m delighted to have joined such a successful organisation as Sigmar, a business I have admired for years for their excellent culture and values. Joining such a brilliant leadership team is a real honour and I’m very excited about helping the whole business realise the considerable opportunities in the market.”
We’ve invited some of Talent Summit’s most popular keynote speakers and special guests back to base camp to share their insights, expertise and thought leadership, as the working world experiences decades of transformation each passing week. This six-part series explores how HR leaders can positively effect business continuity in the short term, grow market share in the medium term and enhance the working lives of our people in the long term. Hear from world class thought leaders from NASA, AON, Simon Sinek Inc, Shopify, Just Eat, Ding and world renowned TED speakers Margaret Heffernan and Patty McCord. You can watch the videos here or check out the podcasts below: Sigmar Recruitment · Talent Summit Back to Base Camp
Visit our Working from Home Hub to check out content we have put together to support remote workers and Managers now working from home - blogs, video content, training modules, podcasts and other resources. The hub has lots of great info and supports for: Working form home, Managing staff remotely, Wellness at Home Talent Summit Series on working in this new normal Access to free online courses to upskill Netflix recommendations Check it out at https://www.workingfromhomehub.com
In light of COVID-19, many companies have unexpectedly asked a large cohort of their employees to work from home. Without time to prepare for this, leaders, whose teams normally share an office and who now have been thrown into working from home, have been presented with a host of new challenges. How can one lead effectively when employees are greeting each other with instant messages than face to face interactions? When meetings are held via Microsoft Teams rather than in-person? Read on for our advice for managing a remote workforce. Clarity of goals, expectations, guidelines First and foremost, leaders need to prioritise the setting of clear boundaries and guidelines. At its most basic this involves setting clear expectations for work hours, availability, communication methods, meetings, key projects and deadlines, and responding to emails. For example, “We use video conferencing for our daily check-in meetings, but we use instant messenger/chat when something is urgent”. After this you need to convey what is success. Don’t worry so much about what is being done, concentrate on what is being accomplished. If we are meeting goals, great! If not, then we need to look further into what is being done. Everyone has a different idea of what doing something “quickly” or “well” means. Whether showing examples of what you expect to be done, an overview of how you schedule your day etc. make sure you set clear expectations from those you work with. And finally, use this time as an opportunity to re-clarify the basics in order to ensure everyone understands their role and how each person contributes to team objectives. Clarifying and re-clarifying goals will help people understand what is expected of them. Over communicate While communication is always essential for leaders, it becomes even more essential when your team is working remotely. A challenge experienced by many when transitioning from in-office work to remote work is the feeling of disconnection and isolation which hinders an employee’s engagement and productivity. Given the current environment and people’s anxiety surrounding COVID-19, this feeling of disconnect and loneliness is probably heightened. Therefore, it is important that you over-communicate with your employees. Your staff members are probably used to talking to you every day so make sure you regularly check-in. This could be a daily series of one-on-one video calls if your employees work more independently of each other or a team video call if their work is collaborative, or a mix of both. The important aspect is that these calls are a regular feature and that employees know that they have an opportunity to discuss any concerns or ask questions. Embrace video conferencing and have regular team meetings and continue to foster team morale by taking the time at the start of each meeting for general chat such as asking about people’s weekends, how they are feeling etc. Trust Being thrust into a remote working environment, as a manger it can be tempting to micromanage. However, doing so will only make your employees feel like you don’t trust them and impact their engagement and productivity. After you have set clear expectations, you must have faith in the employee that they will get the job done. Being trusted to get things done is a big motivator for people. Finally, as it’s been an abrupt shift to remote work for many, it is important for managers to acknowledge that this transition might be difficult for employees. Listen to your employees’ anxieties and concerns and offer them encouragement and support.