Pay hikes of up to 20% for specialist sectors with skills shortages

One of the country’s largest recruitment consultancies has predicted average salary hikes for the Irish workforce of around 10% — at least double what is even being sought by the trade union movement.

Morgan McKinley has said the increases could be as much as 20% for specialist positions in sectors where there are skill shortages.

The likely sectors are the life sciences, information technology, accounting and finance, science and engineering.

In December, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions estimated unions should be in a position to seek pay adjustments in 2016 in the range of 2.5% to 5% for their members.

At the time, employers’ body Ibec was quoted as saying a 5% figure was “completely detached from the reality of the economy”.

As well as giving her firm’s prediction of a 10% average increase, Morgan McKinley’s chief operating officer Karen O’Flaherty also said it would caution restraint.

“Inward investment is dependent on the ability to attract top talent and to be cost competitive,” she said.

The recruitment consultancy said attracting and retaining staff was a key concern of employers in 2015 and will remain so this year.

“In order to minimise attrition levels, companies are focused on providing comprehensive career pathways for employees including training and career development, as well as ensuring their reward structures remain competitive,” it said.

Morgan McKinley also predicts more Irish emigrants are expected to return home during 2016, primarily from Australia, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

“The record jobs growth last year has increased the confidence of those considering a return, particularly those with young families,” the company said. “The strength of the regional jobs market is also driving interest from Irish considering a return, they are attracted by the lower living costs outside of the urban centres of Dublin and Cork.”

A survey published yesterday of 4,000 companies and 45,000 employees in different industry sectors found 73% of the workers expect a salary increase this year, while 57% plan to change jobs.

Donal O’Brien, managing director of Abrivia Recruitment which carried out the survey, said such statistics left employers with two options - either pay the current employee higher wages or seek a replacement for the same salary.

He said the preferred option was clear as 89% of respondent employers expected to pay higher salaries in 2016.


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