A comprehensive salary guide by a specialist recruitment agency in Belfast has revealed the depth of impact the recession has had on Northern Ireland, but also offers optimism for the year ahead.
Across many sectors, salaries have dropped by typically 5-15% and benefits have been capped or withdrawn completely, while redundancies have spread across virtually each business sectors in the region, including the more robust markets of Accountancy and Legal. However the publication by Abacus Professional Recruitment also reveals that positive signs are starting to reflect a more stable labour market with more companies calculating fresh staff appointments.
“Many local firms are certainly more confident and outward looking. Recruitment is returning to their radar, although with justifiable caution. They are smartly managing a blended recruitment strategy by taking on temporary staff and appointing people on interim contract of perhaps 3-6 months. Importantly, the volume of permanent recruitment is rising as well and decisions are being made faster; both positive indicators for the future”; according to Alan Braithwaite (Business Director) at Abacus Professional Recruitment.
Impacts on Markets
The Abacus survey provides an overview on each market plus guidance for companies and job seekers to prepare for the future if economic recovery is sustained. The full report can be downloaded on www.abacus.jobs but the main findings for sectors include:
· Accountancy – some equilibrium gained after periods of pay cuts and redundancies;
· ICT – comparably strong with some skill shortages evident and growth forecast;
· Legal – salary cuts of 10-20% experienced and minimal opportunity for newly qualified solicitors however specialist roles are still in demand;
· Banking – significant job losses and many bonuses withdrawn but next 12 months more positive which follows recent trends in London;
· Insurance – salary cuts experienced in a highly competitive arena but strategic demand for experienced personnel on-going;
· General office roles – volume of temporary roles increasing but salaries squeezed;
· HR and Marketing – regarded as early casualties in an economic downturn however employment opportunities starting to return.
The specialist consultants at Abacus have also offered some guided to all parties. Companies should develop or review their ‘employer brand’ and re-discover how their business is perceived by employees and potential staff of the future.
“Certainly employers are wise to take stock and review how they can improve their appeal to prospect employees. It shouldn’t start when someone hands in their notice. Our consultation revealed that companies were eager to know if their brand had been impacted by redundancies and that is a refreshing consideration”, said Justin Rush (Business Director) at Abacus.
Future Outlook for Jobseekers
“Candidates presently in employment are starting to shift from ‘passive’ to ‘active’ status reflecting a slightly more positive outlook. Obviously the level of competition for employment is considerable and this is likely to continue. While a continued economic challenge certainly remains with public sector pressures and austerity measures on route, the commercial market is lifting. Therefore jobseekers should start preparing CVs, gaining career advice and perhaps develop an appropriate social networking profile to increase their visibility.”