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The changing culture of the workplace

A new year in recruitment will see more flexible working arrangements, an increasingly diverse workforce and a greater focus on a company’s culture

The culture of the company has also risen to the forefront, with organisations tending to be more open and transparent about what they are offering in order to attract the ideal candidates to their positions. Photograph: iStock

The culture of the company has also risen to the forefront, with organisations tending to be more open and transparent about what they are offering in order to attract the ideal candidates to their positions. Photograph: iStock

 

A new year in recruitment will see new challenges alongside new trends, as companies look to hire further afield, and candidates look for flexibility and transparency from the organisations they work for.

“The four core disciplines we would look after would be technology professionals, finance professionals, banking professionals, and office support professionals,” says Andrew Lynch, chief executive of Mason Alexander, a recruitment firm based in Dublin. “One of the key changes we have seen recently is that companies are offering more flexible work solutions to employees,” he says.

Companies are responding to the needs of a new generation of workers through offering roles on a shorter contract, suggests Lynch. “There is a rise in hiring contractors and temps, so we are seeing more recruitment for specific projects, which means that companies don’t have to commit, and also people don’t have to commit as much as they would have in the past,” he says.

“A lot of the younger generation of workers want to work in different projects and different companies, to try new things. Working in the same place for 30 or 40 years is becoming less and less frequent. So that change to companies engaging with the gig economy has definitely been a big shift, not just in Ireland but globally.”

From a job seeker’s point of view, I think it helps to identify the right companies for you, in terms of what they stand for, what their mission and culture is

The culture of the company has also risen to the forefront, with organisations tending to be more open and transparent about what they are offering in order to attract the ideal candidates to their positions. “It’s a competitive space, both from a job seeker’s perspective, and from an employer’s perspective,” says Lynch.

‘A diverse workforce’

“From a job seeker’s point of view, I think it helps to identify the right companies for you, in terms of what they stand for, what their mission and culture is, and from a company’s perspective it is about making sure they really do invest the time into hiring the right people, and that includes a diverse workforce,” he says. “The more people you have that have different backgrounds, and different outlooks and life experiences, then the more ideas you’re going to have, and the better your business is going to be. A lot of companies are really starting to take that seriously, because they are starting to see the benefits of it.”

Across other sectors, there are similar trends. Tom Doyle is a partner at Kppm, which will celebrate its 10th year in business in 2020. As a niche recruitment firm, Kppm focuses on the engineering and construction industries.

“I have noticed companies have become more diverse and inclusive and this has resulted in more success for them in hiring suitable candidates for roles they have been looking to fill,” says Doyle. However, growth in the industry has shown up a shortage of talent.

“The construction industry has grown year on year, and from 2019 through to 2020 we have seen a significant growth across all sectors and project types including residential, student accommodation, hotel and leisure building. We have also seen growth in retail, healthcare and civil infrastructure,” says Doyle. “This growth has increased the number of employment opportunities in the industry, and highlighted the significant shortage of available talented professionals. Companies are more often having success recruiting highly skilled industry professionals from outside of the EU. We specialise in finding hidden talent so we will try to find the best match for the position, whether we are looking within Ireland or further afield. ”

A lot of companies are really starting to take diversity seriously, because they are starting to see the benefits of it. Photograph: iStock
A lot of companies are really starting to take diversity seriously, because they are starting to see the benefits of it. Photograph: iStock

With Brexit on the horizon, a lot of financial services firms are setting up in Ireland, resulting in growth in recruitment for the sector as firms rush to find people familiar with Irish regulation and compliance.

“Over the past couple of years there has been a significant influx of investment management firms setting up in Ireland, looking to have a European base,” says Anne Keys, joint managing partner at The Panel, a Dublin-based recruitment consultancy.

‘Strong Irish talent’

“These firms are under a lot of pressure to set up quickly in Ireland, so the focus has been on if they can bring people from the group over initially to help set up,” says Keys. “So one of the real positives that we’ve seen in terms of Brexit has been the wave of very strong Irish talent coming back to Ireland to help set up these new firms. We now have a much more diverse talent pool of Irish people with international experience coming home to help set up these companies and establish the proper culture and the proper procedures.”

Candidates have started to really focus on the culture of an organisation – that can be as important as the job itself nowadays

As well as bringing Irish people home, these firms will also create more regional jobs, suggests Keys, who is co-vice chair and member of the steering committee of 100 Women in Finance. “Out of 16,000 people employed in the industry, there’s around 4,000 based in the regions, and that’s growing,” she says. “With 100 Women in Finance, we did our first regional event last month in Wexford, where they are setting up a hub for financial services. Really, the industry has had to go regional in order to lower the cost, but also to find talent. When these companies are doing their second wave of growth, more and more often they are looking at places like Wexford, Cork, Limerick, and Galway, because the biggest challenge they have in Dublin is attracting and retaining staff.”

The culture of a company plays a major role in the funds and investment management sector as well, which is why firms are keen to bring in people to help establish new offices, and why candidates are looking for more and more information on it.

“Candidates have started to really focus on the culture of an organisation – that can be as important as the job itself nowadays. It is something that companies are making a great effort to communicate effectively as well, because at the end of the day if you have a culture that is a place where people are respected and enjoy working, then candidates are more than likely going to take your job.”