Skills, not bills

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28 June 2017 | 0

Billy MacInnesHow refreshing to see a poll that suggests people are motivated by factors other than money when it comes to choosing a job. I refer to a survey conducted by Ergo’s Managed People division (am I the only one who finds that title slightly sinister?) which found only 9% of tech job seekers cited salary as one of their top priorities.

The top three priorities for the survey respondents, most of whom (63%) were contractors, were commuting time (21%), opportunities for career progression (18%) and responsibilities that come with the role (16%). The survey also found that a large number (65%) expected to be looking for a new role in the next year.

According to Dave Muldoon, business development director at Ergo Managed People, the survey showed that the recruitment market was much more nuanced than the perception that companies had to “pay a premium for tech talent”.

He suggested people were more focused on working in “business transformational” digital technologies. According to the survey, tech professionals were keen to become skilled in agile (28%), cloud (17%) and the Internet of Things (16%). It’s probably just a remarkable coincidence that most of those areas are hot topics of the moment and likely to command a premium in terms of wages.

Perhaps the perception that companies have to pay a premium for tech talent exists because, for the most part, it’s true. While I’d agree that issues such as commuting time and career progression are significant for many people, the indisputable fact is that most don’t have much choice over the former and, quite often, they have very little power over the latter either.

On the subject of commuting time, it’s worth noting that 60% of respondents to the survey live in Dublin so their journey to work, however long it may be, is likely to be as nothing compared to that for people coming to work in the city from outside the capital.

In any case, surely people living in Dublin who view their commuting time as a major issue would be looking to find a job outside the capital so they could move out to a less crowded town or city? Of course, the wages would probably be lower working in other parts of the country but they would make up for it in terms of quality of life and much less stress over their journey to work.

Wouldn’t it make sense for employers to focus on factors such as commuting time and salary levels and look at locating their businesses somewhere outside Dublin? It would certainly be a lot cheaper for them (and their workers). It’s strange then that so few are actively pursuing a strategy of relocation away from the capital and seem intent, instead, on continuing to force their employees into long commutes to work. Whatever could be holding them back?

I was also interested in the survey’s finding that job boards (43%) and LinkedIn (28%) were primary routes for finding new jobs, compared to only 13% for traditional recruitment agencies. This being Ireland, it was no surprise to hear that one in two people had referred colleagues or friends for a job. Maybe the best way for people to cut down on their commuting time is to hope they’re referred for a job by a friend who lives outside Dublin. Although, come to think of it, that’s no guarantee of anything as it’s very likely any friend will be commuting into Dublin as well.

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