As we head into 2022, the latest HR Barometer Report from Adare Human Resource Management highlights the war on talent is a real challenge for Employers. According to the report, Recruitment and Retention tops the list of HR priorities for next year for the vast majority of Organisations. This is even more challenging given nearly six in ten (56%) Organisations in Munster plan on increasing their Employee headcount next year.
Top 5 HR priorities for 2022 are:
Recruitment & Talent Acquisition (67%)
Employee Health & Wellbeing (41%)
Employee Engagement (36%)
Performance Management (30%)
It’s important then for Organisations to pay particular attention to their Employee Value Proposition and assess what they are doing to attract and retain talent. It’s no longer simply about pay; Employers need to look at their Diversity & Inclusion policies and initiatives, gender pay and what they are doing to support the health & wellbeing of their Employees.
Diversity & Inclusion and Gender Pay
From our HR Barometer Report findings, it appears that there is significant room for improvement amongst employers around diversity and inclusion. According to the HR Barometer Report, the wider adoption of diversity and inclusion practices by Ireland’s employers appears to have stalled. One in four employers in Munster have no diversity and inclusion policy in place, with just a quarter delivered D&I training in the past 12 months; this is in line with national averages. However, it is heartening to see that 63% are planning on delivering training in 2022.
Employers’ obligations under the Employment Equality Act, 1998 – 2015, are very clear. Organisations should ensure that they have the appropriate diversity and inclusion policies and training in place to protect themselves from any issues arising. Finding oneself in front of Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) without such a policy could further aggravate matters for employers, as well as negatively impacting the company’s reputation given WRC hearings are now held in public.
Eliminating the gender pay gap is another important area where further progress is still needed according to the latest HR Barometer Report. It is concerning that less than one in ten companies in Munster (7%) is monitoring the matter given gender pay gap reporting is coming. An important aspect of the Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021, is the requirement for employers to provide a narrative to support their reporting, including initiatives that they are planning to address any disparities.
Ignorance will not be a defence for employers who are found to have gender pay gaps that they haven’t begun to address. Furthermore, at a time when staff retention is proving such a challenge to companies, it could have serious and long-term repercussions in terms of staff turnover as well as recruitment considering the potential reputational damage.
Some 85% of the organisations surveyed are not monitoring the gender pay gap, which is very high. Of these one in four don’t know how they compare to the national average of 14.4%, while half believe the gender pay gap in their organisation is higher or at least equal. It is in the best interest of employers, as well as affected staff, that organisations start tackling this matter now, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to abolishing any differences once and for all.
Remote & Hybrid Working
In our previous HR Barometer Report from March this year, the top initiative that Organisations had introduced to retain Employees was implementing “Flexible Working Arrangements”. Notwithstanding this, our latest report highlights that the number of Employers that believe hybrid working benefits their organisation has decreased.
With remote and hybrid working receiving the full support of Government through the publication of the National Remote Working Strategy and Code of Practice on Right to Disconnect, flexible working practices are here to stay for Ireland’s employers. Many embraced it enthusiastically during lockdown as the ideal way to get back to the office. However, as hybrid models are put in to practice it is not surprising that there are a few issues. But there are ways to make it more effective for the business. Now is a great opportunity for employers to review what has happened in their workplaces over the past few months and with clear communication with their employees, adapt their model so it works for all.
Salaries in 2022
The HR Barometer Report found that three out of four organisations surveyed are increasing salaries this year, up from 41% earlier in the March 2021 HR Barometer Report with an average increase of 5.4% for Munster, higher than the national average of 3.9%. Already half are planning increases next year also with a predicted average increase of 4.9% for Munster, again higher than the national average of 3.7%.
Meanwhile employee turnover in 2022 in Munster is expected to rise to 15% next year, compared with 10% nationally.
The pandemic has presented serious challenges to employers which most have worked hard to address. It is clear from this HR Barometer Report that 2022 will be another challenging year. However, unlike with the pandemic, employers have more control over many of the issues they are facing – especially in the areas of flexible working, diversity and inclusion, and the gender pay gap. Addressing them in a meaningful way offers some ‘easy wins’, as well as avoiding significant HR and financial headaches, and potentially significant damage to their reputation.
The HR Barometer Report is available on Linea, Adare Human Resource Management’s comprehensive online resource for HR Practitioners. If you would like to enquire about accessing Linea, please contact the team.
Adare Human Resource Management is a team of expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice Human Resource Management consultants. For more information go to www.adarehrm.ie or call (021) 486 1420.