With local unemployment rates at a record low this year, less than the UK, Republic of Ireland and the EU, new research shows that Northern Ireland companies are increasingly providing compelling working packages to secure the staff they need to succeed both locally and internationally.
The annual NI Salary Survey Report from Abacus Talent Group revealed 52% of professional employees benefit from flexible working, an increase in the percentage from the previous year. This figure was highest amongst the legal sector, with 61% of employees working flexibly. This includes working from home and flexible working around contracted hours.
There has been an influx of global firms to Northern Ireland and an increase in local companies exporting their services outside their home market. This external focus presents an additional need to adapt employment models to meet the demands of delivering international services to different time zones around the globe.
Commenting on the benefits of flexible working ,Stuart John, Managing Director at Abacus Careers, commented, “Not all companies are in a position to offer additional financial benefits or rewards to their staff, with this in mind, we are finding an increasing number of companies adopting a common-sense approach when it comes to flexible working. Business that can offer flexible solutions to suit all parties will also be well-positioned when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. This also enables smaller businesses to compete with large firms when it comes to an attractive work-life balance and positive working environments, often without the huge financial outlays”.
The survey results revealed variations in the remuneration benefits within different sectors, but it showed almost half of the respondents did receive a basic pay increase last year. Additionally, 55% of all those surveyed received a bonus, with as many as 78% of those in the finance services sector receiving a monetary reward compared to 34% in business support industries.
The Abacus Talent Group survey encompassed 1,000 employees across 20 professional services disciplines and 60 specific job titles; including areas such as law, accountancy, IT, analytics, financial services, insurance, compliance, office support, sales, HR and marketing.
Damian Farrell, Managing Director at Abacus Careers, said, “We are continually working with our clients to help them build attractive employee packages, ones that are going to stand-out from the crowd, particularly for the new generation in the workplace. This includes Top 100 companies and many large scale FDI organisations, to smaller local businesses in Northern Ireland across a range of sectors; all companies face the same challenges but they need a tailored approach to attract and retain people within their business.”
In addition to investing in research and international diaspora initiatives, Abacus is hosting Northern Ireland’s largest talent and engagement conference on the 22nd May at the International Conference Centre. Powered By Talent unites businesses from the professional services sector to highlight best practice in the attraction, development and retention of a company’s main asset, its people. The event sees business leaders and stakeholders from a wide cross-section of industries take part in interactive discussions and engage with industry thought leaders.