Over half of employees believe a recession is ‘inevitable’, survey finds

Research by HR software firm Greenhouse also highlights impact of cost-of-living squeeze on jobs market

More than half of employees in Ireland believe that a recession is “inevitable” but do not anticipate their wages to drop as a result, a survey by HR software firm Greenhouse has found.

The company’s latest candidate economic sentiment survey also reveals that the rising cost of living is having a significant impact on the job market, with nearly two-thirds saying the rising cost of living was now a consideration when applying for roles. Some 54 per cent said housing costs were a factor when looking at the location of roles.

The survey revealed that more than half of respondents would not move or look for a job if the economy falls into a recession in 2022, with 54 per cent of employees believing that a recession is inevitable.

Despite the darkening economic outlook, the survey found that more than half of respondents received a pay increase this year, with more than 35 per cent receiving more than a 5 per cent wage increase.


Irish employees also remain optimistic, with more than half of them indicating they did not expect salaries to be cut even if the country’s falls into enter a recession, while 42 per cent actually expect to see their salaries increase this year.

The research also showed that job security, high wages and flexible working were ranked among the top things that Irish employees most value in terms of their employment.

Another finding was that 61 per cent of candidates do not believe that chief executives who preside over “mass layoffs” should be eligible to receive their annual bonus. Some 47 per cent said they would consider leaving a company if they cut down on work benefits, such as the option to work from home, flexible schedules, free meals and wellness initiatives.

The majority of candidates (82 per cent) overwhelmingly believe that employers should offer hybrid working because of current accommodation costs.

“While the economic outlook might be changing, the pressures to attract and retain talent are here to stay. Hiring is not something you can turn off and switch back on without consequence when growth ramps back up,” said Daniel Chait, chief executive and co-founder of Greenhouse.

“While reducing the workforce may be an appropriate strategy in some situations, companies must take a more considered and long-term approach to talent and operations. There’s no outrunning the past, the internet never forgets and companies that rush to make major cuts may later suffer the consequences. Leaders have many cards to play before layoffs. It will benefit your business (and bottom line) to nurture your talent and get better at hiring than firing,” he said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times