Recruitment and retention within the Dublin financial services sector

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Roche, Julie
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management
Portobello College
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Like many of its European counterparts, Ireland has experienced considerable variation in levels of economic activity over the past 20 years. Throughout much of the 1980s, economic growth was sluggish and inflation was high, whilst unemployment and emigration escalated as manufacturing employment was halved. As the recession receded, the 1980s saw some improvements in the country's fortunes. However, from 1994 onwards, the Irish economy has witnessed unprecedented change. Labeled the "Celtic Tiger", the transformation from a relatively underdeveloped economy to one capable of supporting industrial expansion and rapid economic growth, has been underpinned by a number of factors. These include a growth rate of real GDP averaging over 8 per cent per annum, rapid growth in exports and a rate of industrial production, which has been impressively high when compared to other EU countries. In addition, we have seen a consistent rise in the numbers at work with the standardised unemployment rate falling below that of the EU average. This sustained improvement in Ireland's economic fortunes has seen a strengthening of the country's fiscal position, particularly when contrasted with the situation that existed a decade previously. Significant structural, social and political changes have also taken place alongside these economic developments. Throughout much of the early 1990s, the Irish labour market was characterised by an oversupply of well-educated and skilled individuals and organisations had considerable scope to meet their staffing requirements. However, this characterisation no longer holds true. Skill shortages are being experienced in a number of sectors and many organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to fill their vacancies. In today's business environment, ensuring that manpower requirements are met is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve, even for the most strategically oriented organisations with formal succession planning systems. Skill shortages and forecasts of a huge drop in the number of people available for work point to rapidly deteriorating recruitment prospects. As we enter the new millennium, recruitment and retention issues are arguably the single biggest challenge facing personnel and human resource practitioners. Available labour market analysis suggests that whilst economic growth is expected to slow this year from its previous highs, these supply and demand pressures are set to continue in the medium term.