BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Under valued, underpaid and under appreciated; add to this the perception that employers lack the initiative and resourcefulness to address the skills shortage in the workplace and you have, according to a recent global survey conducted by PwC. an idea of the evolving landscape of employment in Ireland.
The comprehensive study, encompassing more than 52,000 respondents worldwide, including 521 individuals based in Ireland, unveils the aspirations and concerns of workers as they “navigate an ever-changing economic environment”.
As the economy continues to rebound from the pandemic and with employees’ attitudes being moulded by the financial challenges they face, and add the impact of technology on the workforce, approximately two-thirds of those surveyed confirmed their intentions to request pay rises from their employers within the next 12 months.
With half of those surveyed stating they are considering switching jobs, all driven by the need for improved pay and working conditions. This contrasts with the global figures of 62% and 54%, respectively, revealing a “pronounced emphasis on remuneration” among Irish workers.
This is not surprising as Irish households experienced a significant drop in living standards last year as wages failed to keep pace with soaring inflation. Inflation averaged 8.4% last year, therefore real wages were estimated to have decreased by 3.3%, representing one of the largest decreases in living standards since 2008.
And, despite Ireland’s economic resilience, 56% of Irish employees feel less fairly rewarded for their work when compared to their global counterparts, who stand at 62%. This suggests addressing employee pay concerns should be a priority for Irish employers, considering dissatisfaction in this area can significantly impact employee morale and retention.
The survey also highlights a pressing concern among Irish workers regarding their employers’ efforts, or lack thereof, to address skills shortages. Less than four out of 10 Irish employees believe their companies are investing in upskilling their workforce. This points to a potential skills gap that employers must bridge to remain competitive and meet the changing demands of the job market.
The study reveals that women in Ireland perceive unfair treatment when it comes to pay and are less willing to look for raises and promotions. Additionally, younger workers, both male and female, express more dissatisfaction with their current jobs compared to older generations, with concerns about job security and the impact of technology looming large.
A significant portion of Irish workers, 20%, express doubts about their employers’ ability to remain in business in the next decade if they continue on their current trajectory contrasting with a global figure of 31%.
The survey reveals a gap in understanding within the workforce regarding the skills needed for the future. Employees want to develop new skills, but feel their employers are not capitalising on this desire through training and then not providing opportunities to use their new-found talents. It indicates room for improvement in “initiatives to foster talent development and the importance of aligning organisational rewards with employees’ holistic well-being; encompassing physical, emotional, mental, social, career, and financial aspects”.
AI is the buzz word at the minute with Irish workers exhibiting mixed views regarding its impact on their careers. Some anticipate opportunities to learn valuable new skills and increase productivity through AI, while others fear the possibility of job losses.
The survey is a must read for employers as it provides valuable insights into the changing employment landscape in Ireland, emphasising the importance of effective leadership, skills development and increased pay. Effective communication and education about the implications of ‘transformative technologies’ are necessary for leaders to navigate this evolving landscape successfully.
They need to prioritise the well-being and professional growth of their employees, encouraging a strong and adaptable workforce capable of meeting the challenges of the future.