How to attract staff in an intense labour market

Journalist Colette Sexton on how companies can hire top talent, even when the employment market is buoyant.

It is hard to believe that a few short years ago Ireland was in the middle of an unemployment epidemic. Many industries here are now approaching full employment, and as a result, many businesses have vacant positions that they cannot fill.

While employment overall is at very high levels, the most recent Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends guide found that experienced professionals across technology, finance, life sciences and construction are amongst the most in-demand skill sets.

Within these disciplines, some of the most sought-after skills are cybersecurity analysts; data scientists; Java and software developers; front end and software developers; tax and payroll managers; mortgage underwriters; mechanical and electric engineers and quantity surveyors; microbiologists and quality analysts.

So how can a company stand out from the pack?


Some 82 per cent of people will consider applying to a job if the company can prove its commitment to its employer’s personal development, according to the Hay’s What Workers Want 2018 report. It also found that 73 per cent of applicants want their potential employer to be publicly committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

“The competition for talent is more intense than ever. The days of the job market favouring employers is long gone. Employers today must be prepared to pull out all the stops to attract the attention of top talent. This is particularly apparent in sectors such as technology, construction, life sciences and finance. That said, employers that pro-actively invest in their recruitment strategies and employees will reap the benefits,” Maureen Lynch, Director at Hays Ireland, said.

Every company claims to have a pleasant work environment, attractive benefits and a great team, she said, so it is important to figure out what makes your organisation a place people want to work and describe this clearly and honestly to prospective staff and in job descriptions.

It is also important to ditch overly long application processes. Make sure the process is as fast as possible, and also keep candidates informed of next steps throughout the whole process. Maureen said that keeping candidates engaged throughout the entire process is vital.

“While rapidly approaching full employment, competition for talent is intensifying and the challenge isn’t just finding prospective candidates, it’s also keeping them engaged throughout the entire application process to the point of hire,” she said.

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