Its 2024 salary guide, however, anticipates that salaries in most professional areas will see little to no significant change into next year, as fewer professionals consider exploring new job opportunities.
Nevertheless, there will be notable deviations from this trend in specialised positions and industries facing skills shortages.
In these sectors, professionals with significantly in-demand skills could potentially expect salary increases of up to 15%, underscoring the strong competition organisations will encounter as they seek to attract top talent in these areas.
Trayc Keevans, Global FDI Director, Morgan McKinley Ireland, said the professional job market in Ireland faced significant challenges in 2023, characterised by fierce competition, talent migration, rising salaries, evolving job seeker dynamics, skills shortages, and changing work preferences.
Morgan McKinley’s Global Hiring Realities Survey, conducted across eight global locations, including Ireland, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the UK, highlighted the intense competition in the job market.
A remarkable 72% of Irish employers admitted losing staff within the past six months, mainly due to struggles in competing with pay and benefits offered by competitors and unmet employee expectations regarding more flexible working arrangements.
“The loss of staff occurred despite 44% of Irish employers increasing salaries within their organisations over the past six months,” Ms Keevans said. “Ireland stood out as second only to the UK in terms of salary increases. In addition, 71% of surveyed employers provided some form of company bonus in 2023, with only China and Singapore reporting higher percentages in this regard.
“The survey also revealed that 69% of hiring managers plan to raise salary offers for specific hard-to-fill roles in 2024.”
Skills shortages have been a significant challenge, with 40% of employers struggling to find candidates with the right skills for their job openings. To address this, organisations are rethinking their hiring strategies and exploring alternative methods for identifying and nurturing required talent.
Close to 80% of employers believe that offering flexible working arrangements is the most effective strategy for attracting new talent, a sentiment shared with Canada. This is closely followed by the significance of providing career advancement prospects, offering competitive salaries, and evaluating prospective employees based on their potential rather than solely their experience.
“In 2023, the hybrid working model remained prevalent,” Ms Keevans noted. “However, over a quarter of employers acknowledged losing out on potential hires due to their inability to meet remote and hybrid work expectations.”
42% of employers are now encouraging their employees in Ireland to return to the office more frequently. The main motivations behind this shift include enhancing employee collaboration, strengthening company culture, and boosting overall performance.
Only 8% of employees expressed a desire to work in the office five days a week. In contrast, 50% of surveyed Irish employees are open to accepting a reduced salary in exchange for the work flexibility they desire.
Looking ahead to next year, the salary landscape for most professional fields appears set to remain stable, tracking closely with an estimated inflation rate of around 3%, according to the Morgan McKinley 2024 Irish Salary Guide.
However, the report says it’s important to recognise that this status quo will not apply across all professional jobs.
“In certain niche positions and industries facing severe skills shortages, we can expect notable deviations from this standard,” Ms Keevans said. “These sectors will diverge from the broader trend, presenting more pronounced salary increases of up to 15% for professionals with highly sought-after skills, primarily in pockets of Technology, Engineering, Construction, Life Sciences, and Financial Services sectors.”
The Irish-owned global talent services company is observing a notable shift in the job-seeking behaviour of Irish professionals, indicating that the ‘Great Resignation’, a term coined to describe the surge in employees leaving their jobs, may be subsiding.
Its research reveals that only 36% of professionals surveyed are planning to actively explore new employment opportunities within the next six months. This marks a 17% decline from the previous year, reflecting a change in the mindset of professionals.
She said Morgan McKinley anticipates that employers’ focus for hiring in 2024 will be two-fold. Companies will continue to adopt a discerning approach to recruitment, carefully assessing the necessity of each replacement before making hiring decisions and ensuring that such hires are productive and add value to the bottom line.
Secondly, the firm expects leaders to concentrate on retaining their talent and matching the expectations of their employees around flexible working practices, career advancement opportunities, and a supportive company culture.