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MORGAN McKINLEY IRISH EMPLOYMENT MONITOR NOVEMBER 2011

MORGAN McKINLEY IRISH EMPLOYMENT MONITOR NOVEMBER 2011

“Monitoring the pulse of the Irish professional jobs market”

Almost a third of Irish professional employers do not expect to pay year-end bonuses

Bonus payments for 2011/12 expected to be modest

Bonus Expectations Survey highlights:

Morgan McKinley’s Bonus Expectations Survey in November 11 found that 29% of professional employers do not expect to pay year-end bonuses. 18% are still not sure if bonuses will be paid.

The remaining 53% predict that their companies will be paying year-end bonuses. However, the majority (77%) of managers surveyed expect that these bonus payments will be modest, at approximately 1-10% of base salaries.

Irish Employment Monitor highlights:

The November 11 Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor recorded a month-on-month decrease of 12% in the number of new professional jobs in Ireland.

There was however an increase of 24% in the number of professional job opportunities when compared to the same time last year.

The number of professionals entering the jobs market rose 8% from October 11 to November 11.

Compared to November 10 there was a slight decrease (1%) in the volume of professionals seeking new career opportunities in the Irish market.

8th December 2011 - In November 11, Morgan McKinley carried out a Bonus Expectations Survey with 584 senior-level operational and HR managers across Ireland to find out their views on forthcoming year-end bonuses. The results showed that almost a third (29%) of professional employers in Ireland do not expect to pay year-end bonuses, with a further 18% still unsure of their plans for the 2011/12 bonus round.

Just over half (53%) of survey respondents expect to pay year-end bonuses but for the majority (77%) these will be quite modest at approximately 1-10% of base salaries. Only 1% of companies expect to pay significant bonuses of 26% of base salaries and above.

The bonus outlook is relatively similar across the four major sectors surveyed: financial services, IT, manufacturing and professional services. The forecasts for the size of bonus payments for the majority of companies is slightly higher for manufacturing and IT at 6-10% of base salaries (44% of manufacturing companies predict this range 49% of IT) than for financial services and professional services at 1-5% of base salaries (37% of financial services institutions predict this range 35% of professional services).

Karen O’Flaherty, Chief Operations Officer, Morgan McKinley commented:
“The results of our recent Bonus Expectations Survey show that almost a third of financial services, IT, manufacturing and professional services firms in Ireland do not expect to pay year-end bonuses. This indicates that many Irish businesses are still highly cost-cautious heading into 2012, which is understandable against the backdrop of volatility in the eurozone and ongoing domestic economic challenges.

“Despite this mood of austerity, just over half of employers are expecting to distribute modest bonuses in December or January. It must be emphasised that the majority of respondents predicted that these would be 10% of basic salaries at best. For many companies, these bonus payments are likely to be gestures of goodwill towards their employees, many of whom would not have received pay increases or bonuses for three or more years. Even in this challenging economic climate, employers recognise there are still shortages of skilled professionals in certain sectors, so staff retention is a priority. Where salary increases are not feasible, some companies are rewarding staff with bonuses, increased benefits or work/life balance incentives.

“This is particularly the case within the IT sector, Ireland’s & lsquo;good news’ story for business and jobs growth in 2011. It is has been widely publicised that demand for talented IT professionals often outstrips supply, particularly within the field of software development. Almost half of IT employers expect to pay year-end bonuses of 6-10% of base salaries for 2011/12, the highest estimate of the four sectors surveyed.

“Bonus schemes within the financial services sector are often heavily scrutinised. Our survey found that 29% of financial services employers do not expect to pay year-end bonuses, with a further 15% still uncertain of their plans for the 2011/12 bonus round. Of those financial services institutions expecting to pay bonuses for 2011/12, the highest number (37%) predict they will be modest (1-5% of base salaries). Only 2% expect to pay significant bonuses of 26% of base salaries or higher. It is likely that these larger payments will be distributed to the more senior professionals within the financial services sector.

Hiring activity slows as year-end approaches
The Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor registered a 12% month-on-month decrease in the number of new professional job opportunities, down from 8,535 in October 11 to 7,345 in November 11. Compared to the 5,926 jobs recorded in the same month last year, this was an increase of 24%.

The number of professionals entering the Irish jobs market increased by 8% from 10,080 in October 11 to 10,885 in November 11. There was an insignificant decrease (1%) from the 11,015 job seekers looking for new roles in November 10.

Karen O’Flaherty continued:
“A monthly decrease in the number of professional jobs is quite typical for this time of year, as many firms begin to wind down their hiring activities moving into the festive season. The recent increase in the number of contract and temporary roles coming onto the market may have also affected the Irish Employment Monitor, which tracks Ireland’s permanent professional jobs market. Temporary contracts are flexible and cost-effective and are therefore popular recruitment options during holiday periods or times of financial uncertainty. However, the increase in demand for temporary workers experienced this month may have been diluted somewhat given the lack of clarity around the Agency Workers Directive.

“There was a slight increase month-on-month in the number of professionals newly active in the Irish jobs market in November 11. It is possible that some professionals felt that November might be their last chance to make a career move in 2011, before hiring activity slows considerably in December. Some job seekers may even be registering their interest early to increase their chances of finding a secure position for the New Year. Employers are being very specific about the candidates they invite to interview an exact match to the job specification is a minimum requirement in most cases. This can often protract the process, a trend that is likely to continue into early 2012.”

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