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Ireland—Mind the Gap—Employer Perspectives

by Jean McCarthy

October 2010—In Ireland, labor costs and benefits (including social insurance) generated pressure for change in nearly three quarters (73.6%) of private sector employers surveyed.

More than 8 in 10 managers in the public sector (86%) reported that demands from staff for better pay generated “some” internal pressure within their organizations; managers in the health sector (22%) reported that demands for better pay caused “intense” internal pressures. These pressures have prompted 75% of Irish employers to offer smaller bonus pay amounts for 2009 compared with bonuses for 2008. Still, 62% do not plan to reduce the level of employer contributions to retirement plans as a result of the economic recession.

In fact, Irish employers see investment in their workforce as the most important response to financial challenges:

  • Two thirds of Irish employers (66.3%) view training and development of staff as the most important response to external pressures on their organizations; and
  • Over half of Irish employers (51.7%) implemented staff training and development for managers, while 41.4% provided staff training and development for other employees;
  • A sizable group of employers in Ireland (40.5%) have implemented work-life balance practices for employees.

Within specific industries:

  • Construction, Traditional and High-Tech Manufacturing firms are more likely to reduce work time or implement temporary layoffs when necessary than any other sector in Ireland;
  • Fully 70% implemented practices for employee discretion (flexibility) in the way work is organized
    • 77% within Distribution Services;
    • 71.8% within Finance/Insurance/Business Activities;
    • 65% within Hotel/Restaurants/Transportation/Other Services; and
    • 64.9% within Construction.

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