A greener, more pleasant land?

Image: Stockfresh

12 October 2016

Billy MacInnesThe serious consequences of Brexit on Irish companies and their employment recruitment policies has been highlighted by a report which found a majority of Irish businesses were less likely to employ UK workers in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Q3 2016 Employment Market Monitor report by recruitment company Cpl Resources suggested 60% of Irish employers were finding UK employees less attractive because of “the potential need for work visas and increased complications”.

This is an interesting counterpoint to uncertainty in the UK, some of it fuelled by the government, over the future status of EU employees, including people from Ireland, in a post-Brexit Britain.

It’s an intriguing finding when you set it against Irish entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly publicly bemoaning the lack of software engineers in Ireland at The Irish Times Innovation Awards a week previously.

Kennelly told the audience: “Every small start-up must compete against Google, Facebook and others for software developers. This imbalance has hugely unintended consequences on the indigenous entrepreneurs as they seek to build their businesses alongside the giants. For the past five years at least thousands of software engineering jobs have gone unfilled in Ireland as the giants suck up all the available talent like a giant factory ship. That talent isn’t being used for real software development; most of it being used for sales and support. The bottom line is that our competitive position as a nation is being seriously eroded by the failure to address this imbalance.”

It would appear that those start-ups and large multinationals could be further limited in their potential search for suitable employees by the consequences of Brexit. In addition, Brexit may well lead to Irish employees becoming more attractive to companies in other EU countries, causing a further diminution in available workers in Ireland. As the report notes: “The result could, however, help to better position Irish nationals in the EU employment market above their British neighbours thanks to their sustained connection to the EU.”

What was also interesting was that despite the clamour for more people with IT skills in Ireland, the number of job postings for IT & Telecoms declined by 8% (and this at a time when job postings for the other three sectors covered all increased by more than 10%). Adding fuel to the fire, IT job postings declined for the second quarter in a row.

Among other findings, the report revealed employers thought it was acceptable, if not essential, for employees to stay connected to work outside office hours. Cpl questioned whether this was the right approach when research has highlighted the benefits of taking adequate rest to avoid burn out. “Should measures be taken to stop employees checking their work e-mails at home?,” it asked. “Could implementing strategies to prevent digital burnout be the answer to increased productivity?”

It also found that 67% of respondents were “not adequately trained in dealing with older staff in work”. Employees were uncomfortable managing individuals older than them in the workplace. “This suggests a need for greater education of managers in the workforce,” Cpl noted, “and an increased focus on what skills and abilities a person can bring to a role, regardless of age.” For a relatively young industry like IT, especially, this could well become a significant issue in the coming years, particularly if skills shortages prompt companies to hold on to staff for longer than they would have done in the past.

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