Financial recruitment update

Business, Economy | Fri 15 Nov | Author – Business & Finance
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The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey indicates signs of hope for Irish jobseekers in the financial services sector, explains Cara O’Leary.

As Ireland continues on a journey of economic recovery, trends across the labour market will continue to challenge both employers and job seekers.

The economic crisis in 2008 hit the financial services sector in Ireland particularly badly. With countless job losses and a lack of opportunity in the financial sector, many people sought work elsewhere or looked for a new career path. Although the sector continues to be challenged today, according to Manpower Group’s Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS), the results for the fourth quarter of 2013 show significant improvement both quarter over quarter, and year over year.

This survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workplaces during the coming quarter. It is the only forward looking employment survey, in which participants are asked a single question: ‘How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of December 2013 as compared to the current quarter’. A robust survey, it is based on interviews with over 66,000 public and private employers across 42 countries and territories. Seasonal adjustments are applied to the data and these adjustments make it possible to review the data independent of seasonal labour market variations.

Detailed outlook

The latest MEOS Q4 2013 was released in September and indicated signs of hope for Irish jobseekers. It shows a more optimistic outlook in the Irish labour market as hiring plans in most industry sectors and regions strengthened both quarter over quarter and year over year.

Employers report a net employment outlook of -4% on the basis of seasonally adjusted data. This was a three percentage point improvement from three months ago and from the same time last year which suggests there is hope once again for Irish job seekers as outlooks have improved in most industry sectors and regions.

The financial services industry employs approximately 33,000 people throughout Ireland in approximately 500 companies and contributes over €1bn to the Exchequer in corporation and payroll taxes. Job creation has been prioritised in this Industry with a targeted increase of 10,000 employees in the IFSC in 2016. IDA Ireland will also be opening a new office in Beijing which will focus on attracting more investment and jobs in the financial services sector from China to Ireland. This sector saw one of the most noteworthy improvements in the MEOS Q4 2013.  A net employment outlook of -2% was reported. Although this indicates that employers anticipate a subdued labour market in the fourth quarter, it is paramount to note that this is 11 percentage points better than Q3 and eight percentage points better than Q4 2012.

Recruiting employees

So what does this mean to employers within the financial sector? As hiring intentions strengthen we may see a return to competition for employees; although not to the degree that was evident in 2006 / 2007. Many job advertisements will still see large numbers of applicants, several of whom may not be suited to the role, but may be people who are looking to re-enter the financial sector or to gain a foothold in the industry. It is the volumes of unsuitable applicants which can provide a challenge for employers due to the importance of adequately managing the process to protect their employer brand.

Another concern for employers is the threat of hiring someone very experienced who might look to move on once the industry sees further improvement. This is an ongoing concern and in many cases can be unfounded. Engaged employees who enjoy their work, are adequately rewarded and have ample opportunity to develop their careers and further their expertise with their current employer and are unlikely to actively pursue new roles so soon after joining an organisation. Ensuring the right talent strategy is in place from the start, and making good hiring decisions is paramount to driving success in an organisation during these changing times.

For jobseekers, the challenge of finding suitable work in the sector will continue through the fourth quarter, although it should be lesser than previously evidenced. Well thought out applications to suitable roles, which make the best use of your qualifications and/or expertise, and avoiding applying for roles that you are unsuited to, remains as important today as always.

Building a network – both online, via social media, and through friends and colleagues is a useful way to meet potential employers and to learn about new roles. Recruitment agencies continue to play a vital role in filling vacancies, and building a network of recruiters that you know and trust is always useful.

Cara O'Leary

Cara O’Leary, sales manager, Manpower.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey serves as an indicator of labour market trends and activities and is regularly used to inform the Bank of England’s Inflation Reports, as well as a regular data source for the European Commission, informing its EU Employment Situation and Social Outlook report for the Monthly Monitor. The survey data is also sourced by financial analysts and economists around the world to help determine the health of the labour markets.