One third employers (excluding retail/wholesale sectors) see benefits from hybrid working compared to three quarters last March.
Latest Adare Human Resource Management HR Barometer Report also reveals slow progress on addressing diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Just one in ten companies tracking gender pay gap
Recruitment and talent acquisition, along with retention, remain businesses’ top priorities.
As the Government advises businesses to move to remote working again, new research¹ reveals that employer enthusiasm for hybrid working has decreased since the phased reopening of workplaces began in September. The latest HR Barometer Report from consultants Adare Human Resource Management reveals that only one third of employers (32%) excluding retail and wholesale sectors believe hybrid working will benefit their organisation. This compares to over three quarters (76.8%) in their March HR Barometer Report.
The survey also highlights the slow progress being made on addressing diversity and inclusion as well as the ongoing gender pay gap that persists in many workplaces. Derek McKay, Managing Director, Adare Human Resource Management warns that continued inaction on these matters could prove costly for employers as recruitment and talent acquisition, along with retention, remain businesses’ top priorities (67% and 65%) heading into 2022.
McKay states: “Our latest barometer highlights some significant HR challenges facing employers into 2022 which, if addressed, could be of substantial benefit to organisations. Obviously, hybrid working won’t necessarily be a blanket decision for all employers as it suits certain roles and sectors more than others. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of their business, most retail and wholesale employers surveyed (89%) don’t see companywide benefits. However, the fall in support from other employers is surprising, especially in the professional services sector where over two thirds of employers expressed reservations.”
“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’s 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,” says McKay.
It also 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 third of employers surveyed have no diversity and inclusion policy in place, a level that is unchanged from the September 2020 report.
McKay warns this tardiness could prove costly for employers. “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. McKay said it was concerning that just one in ten companies (11%) is monitoring the matter given gender pay gap reporting is coming. “An important aspect of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, 2019, 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.
McKay added: “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 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.
Still on the topic of pay, the HR Barometer Report confirms that the talent war looks set to continue well into 2022. 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 3.9%. Already half are planning increases next year also with a predicted average increase of 3.7%. Meanwhile employee turnover in 2022 is expected to rise marginally to 10% next year, compared with an anticipated 7.5% for 2021.
“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,” McKay concluded.
If you would like to have a look at the full HR Barometer Report findings, it is available on our online HR platform - Linea.
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¹Research was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) on behalf of Adare Human Resource Management. The research was carried out by telephone interview during November 2021 with 148 HR Directors and Managers. The study covers over 30,000 employees from organisations representing a cross-range of sectors nationwide.