Availability of Skilled Workers –  a Key Constraint

8th July 2023

Posted In: FYI

A record number of businesses (57%) cite the availability of skilled workers as a key constraint to growing their business, according to Grant Thornton’s latest International Business Report (IBR) research.

A number of issues are impacting this, including a high level of employment, as well as inflation and interest rates. The global survey of mid-market companies highlights Labour costs are also a concern – with some 55% of mid-market business leaders identifying these costs as a barrier to business growth. However, for many firms looking to cut costs, reducing headcount is not an attractive option.

Speaking about the research Patrick Gallen, People and Change Consulting Partner at Grant Thornton Ireland said: “Organisations right across the public and private sectors continually need to review their approach to talent management and succession planning.  What is needed is a more strategic approach to workforce planning, involving four different aspects.  The first is continually reviewing their  “employee value proposition” in a transient and hybrid world.   Secondly, once they get employees on board, how do they deploy them across various locations and countries? Thirdly, how are the staff developed in terms of new skills and capabilities in an ever-changing digital world?  Finally, how are they retained in a competitive and full employment work environment?”

When hiring and retaining top talent, a major issue facing many companies is salary expectations.

According to Grant Thornton’s IBR research, 80% of mid-market businesses intend to give pay rises this year globally.

However, the persistent high levels of inflation and additional costs limit business’s ability to increase salary, with only 24% of businesses indicating they intend to offer ‘real increases’ over the next 12 months. Looking beyond the paycheck is therefore a major factor in retaining talent – creating a more inclusive work environment is one such example.

Pointing out the benefit of flexible and hybrid working, Sinead Donovan, chairperson at Grant Thornton Ireland (pictured), said: “The pandemic has given us a bigger pool of talent and so our workforces have become much more diverse,” she explained. “Businesses are able to hire people from different countries when they offer remote working. This brings real benefits to decision-making, and ultimately, to business performance.”

Supporting businesses to attract and retain a talented workforce is central to continued growth and success, not only for individual companies, but for Ireland as a whole, as we look to attract new businesses to invest here.