What strategies work to overcome talent & people shortages in Ireland?

The TALiNT Ireland 2019 event took place back on 11th June, at The Gibson Hotel. The theme of the event was “Talent Intelligence for HR, Recruitment and Talent Leaders”. In particular if focused on the recruitment and talent acquisition landscape, which is changing in a dizzying number of ways, and how the recruitment community must now work harder than ever to demonstrate relevance and find (and keep) talent.

Frank Farrelly, President of the National Recruitment Federation, spoke at the event and covered “What strategies work to overcome talent and people shortages in Ireland?”.

Following the event we asked Frank to write a short piece for NRF members about his talk…

Where is Irish recruitment today?

With the economy trending towards full employment it is a good time to be in recruitment, but for recruitment agencies retaining talent has become very difficult. It is estimated that there are 7.5k active agency recruiters in Ireland. This is not a big gene-pool of talent, when you consider all the big brands in Ireland that like to hire recruiters, and the continued growth of the internal recruitment model.

Strategies to attract & retain talent

To ensure your recruitment team is a success it’s a good idea to break your strategy into attracting, retaining & maximising productivity.

It’s a bit odd that recruiters struggle to recruit. I would advise that before you start, benchmark to ensure you can afford to buy. If you can’t afford to hire experienced recruiters, then spend your resources and time elsewhere. Secondly do not hire talented recruiters that don’t fit your team. Too many are seduced by the short-term gain and don’t see the potential long-term damage that the wrong person can do. In my day job in Sigmar I always hire for coach-ability because I can teach the skills. 

Attracting Talent? Be Creative

Today everyone uses strategies to attract talent such as employer branding, referrals and boomerang employees. It is a noisy marketplace, so you need to be creative. This can be a simple as offering flexible work. 

The data shows circa 30% of jobs have some sort of flexibility, from short hours, short weeks, job share, flexitime to remote working. It’s would appear clear from this that employers are embracing flexible working. But we really must ask, have they? Many employers have adopted a flexible working approach as a retention strategy ,but the evidence highlights it’s a less common strategy when attracting staff.  For example, typically less than 10% of job ads offer flexibility. 

There’s opportunity here to embrace flexible work and expand the gene-pool of available talent.  One word of warning is not to underestimate the impact on the rest of the team. If they end up with extra work, you need to recognise that properly.

Attracting Talent? Consider Outsourcing

Recruitment has changed over the last 10 years. There are a plethora of new sourcing tools and different models of recruitment have emerged. It’s now much harder to find a 360 recruiter. Many companies are functionalising the role, which makes it easier to recruit. 

Outsourcing can help you do this. As someone who has tried, and failed, to outsource my only advice is if you outsource, go all in and spend time getting it right at the start. 

Retaining & Maximising Productivity… Clarity, Learning the Craft & Success

Retaining staff is now NRF members biggest issue. We need to increase tenures and make people  productive quicker. If it takes over 12 months for consultants to see success, then they tend to move.

Too many leave without learning the craft of recruitment, finding their niche or seeing success. You need to do the thousand meetings, and have your heart broken, before you can thoroughly begin to assess candidates correctly and develop the resilience every successful recruiter needs.

To retain staff, you need to provide them with clarity. Too often recruiters over complicate things. 

Retaining & Maximising Productivity…Structured Learning & Development

I have always found a structured learning & development (L&D) program to be key. However it’s vital to find the balance between speed and quality. If you upfront too much, its hard for people to learn. This can, and does, conflict with getting staff productive quicker. On balance in my experience it is better to spread the L&D out. If you have the numbers, one way to accelerate development is to enlist a mentor, outside of managers. A second voice works wonders and can often spot something a manager wouldn’t. 

Retaining & Maximising Productivity…A Learning Resource on Your Doorstep

As a Federation the NRF has done great work in the learning and development area. We recently partnered with Skillnet Ireland to allow members access to more training. 

In the first 12 months we ran over 40 events including finance for non-finance managers, emotional intelligence and resilience which we had not done before. For further information about the NRF Skillnet see below.

We are also so proud to be launching our Degree level Apprenticeship with NCI next January.

Finally, if you attract and retain good staff you will increase the value of your business, spread the wealth, and support the profession overall.

About Frank Farrelly…

Frank is COO and co-founder of Sigmar and has served as President of the National Recruitment Federation since 2016. In his role as COO of Sigmar, he oversees 14 specialist teams. Frank was instrumental in bringing the 2018 World Employment Conference to Dublin.  In his role with the NRF, he represents the Irish recruitment profession with Government, at international conferences and think-tanks. Frank is passionate about developing recruitment into a key component of the future world of work

NRF Skillnet

The NRF Skillnet facilitates and delivers discounted training courses, workshops and knowledge-sharing forums to equip your staff with the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise they need to thrive, and help your business grow, in our ever-changing landscape.

discount of up to 30% is available on a wide range of courses, workshops and forums. Not only this but the NRF Skillnet can also provide you with:

  • Up to 30% discount on higher level diploma and degree programmes.
  • Tailored in-house or offsite training courses to meet your business needs.
  • Recognised professional trainers within the industry.  

To date, over 100 companies have taken part in our training courses.

If you would like to learn more, or avail of this discounted training opportunity, please contact me at janice@nrf.ie or on 0876108783. Don’t forget to follow our page here on LinkedIn for all the latest news on the NRF Skillnet.

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