Heading into the new year, we surveyed more than 5,000 IT workers in Ireland for their opinions and insights. We asked them about their career plans, workplaces and employers.
Overall, the sentiment was positive with 62% of IT professionals saying that they would definitely recommend their current employer. Here are the 9 key points we learned from IT employees about working in Ireland.
Remote Working Findings
As IT recruitment specialists, we keep a close eye on the trends that emerge when speaking to our candidates. Our goal is to support them in their careers and ensure that they have the advice and guidance they need. One thing that we were keen to find out about was how IT professionals really feel about remote working.
The trend for remote working is one that many employees countrywide have shown a preference for. It’s certainly something that we have seen an increase in. Both from the side of employers looking for skilled remote staff and job candidates looking for remote and hybrid roles. Here’s what we found out about employee remote working experiences.
1. More Than Half of Irish IT Workers Have Experienced Proximity Bias
2022 was a year of exciting discussions and insights that have bloomed in response to the push for more remote jobs. Something that caught our eye was a report that found that “96% of executives say that they notice and value employees’ contributions made in the office far more than work done from home”. Interestingly, the same study found that 42% of employees thought there was no difference in their work being noticed during remote work or otherwise.
We asked IT professionals in Ireland if they had experienced proximity bias in the workplace. The results were quite clear, 52% of people said they had personally experienced proximity bias. Whilst another 11% had witnessed it in their workplace.
Showing favouritism to workers who are physically closer is known as Proximity Bias. Proximity bias has been shown to have a knock-on effect on employee morale and retention. According to Gleb Tsipursky, companies that believe this might be occurring in their business should ‘Instill an excellence from anywhere culture’.
2. Employees Are Confident Remote Working Won’t Reduce Career Opportunities
Despite the seemingly high experiences of proximity bias, we found that overall employees don’t feel that remote working will reduce career opportunities.
We were relieved to find that most of them (85%) don’t feel that remote working will negatively impact their opportunities. Only 13% said this is a concern that worries them. Whilst 2% said they had already lost opportunities because they work remotely.
Reading between the lines, we take this to mean that the general belief is that there are good and bad remote opportunities. And, that those who have experienced proximity bias see it as an issue with their manager or employer rather than working remotely. It perhaps warrants more research in 2023.
3. Neither Irish Employers nor Employees Favour Monitoring Software
Out of pure curiosity, we wanted to know if many employers used monitoring software for remote workers. Our respondents told us that most Irish employers don’t use monitoring software. Those that had experienced being monitored this way (20%) were open about the experiences. One particular Software Professional said he “turned down a very high-paying job because they wanted to run such spyware on my laptop”. Another respondent, working in Front End Development, said he “couldn’t deal with being monitored the entire day with software” and that it “killed [his] productivity”. It eventually caused him to leave that employer.
Flexible Work Findings
Along with remote working, the conversation about the length of a standard working week has also become louder. In 2022, a 4-day week pilot was launched in Ireland in which 7 companies trialled a 4-day working week. The results of the six-month pilot were so positive that none of the 7 companies are returning to a 5-day-week. Not a huge surprise considering that, as a result of the pilot, the companies experienced an average revenue increase of 38%.
The model used in the 4-day week pilot is one called the ‘100-80-100 model’. With this model, employees retain 100% of their existing pay for 80% of their current (5-day week) working hours while achieving 100% productivity for the company.
4. Some People Favour 5-day weeks over flexible working (but not many)
We asked IT professionals if they would like to see their own employer offer this option. To which a responding 89% said they would and a lucky 3% said they already did. We also wanted to know if they would prefer to choose their own flexible working hours or a 4 or 5-day week. The majority, 47% stuck to their preference of a 4-day week while 41% chose the flexible work option. Not everyone wants to see changes in their working week though, 11% of respondents told us that they prefer a 5-day week.
5. Ireland’s Right To Disconnect Code of Practice Isn’t working
In April 2021, Ireland introduced a Code of Practice on the right to disconnect. The aim of which is to help employees better understand their rights around work hours vs non-work hours. Established by the Workplace Relations Commission, the rights that were identified included:
The right of an employee to not routinely perform work outside normal working hours.
The right to not be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours.
The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect (e.g., by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours).
18 months on, we asked our survey participants if they regularly work more than their contracted hours. Encouragingly, nearly 1 in 3 IT workers say they are never asked to work outside their work hours. Those upholding the rights set out by the Right To Disconnect Code are in the minority – only 7% said that they are regularly asked to but say no. The majority though (62%) said that they regularly work more hours.
Employee Health & Wellbeing Findings
6. Training Helps New Employees Settle In Quicker
When our Recruitment Consultants find the perfect IT professional for our clients they stay in touch. We consider it part of our service to ensure that every candidate settles in well to their new role. And that both the candidate and client are happy.
The onboarding activities of every business are different and depend on many factors. The most common onboarding activities we come across include training, social introductions like welcome drinks and Buddy systems. Of those three, candidates tell us that good training is most useful. In fact, 48% said it has helped them settle into a new role quickly. When it came to the Buddy system vs social introductions, it was the buddy system that won with double the votes. Personally, we believe a combination of the three is a good approach.
7. Investment in Employee Health & Wellbeing Is Missing The Mark
In Ireland, the 29th of April marks National Workplace Wellbeing Day. A day to celebrate and share best practices. From working closely with our clients, we see the fantastic effort they put into enhancing employee wellbeing first-hand. That’s why we were surprised to find that only 18% of employees agree that their employers proactively invest in their health and wellbeing.
8. More Than Half of IT Workers Receive Career Development Assistance At Work
Having pathways for career development is something that employees would stay in a role for. It’s also something that can benefit productivity and motivation in the workplace.
With this in mind, we asked participants if their employers offered them career development assistance. More than half of the IT workers said that this type of support was available to them at work. More than half of those respondents also felt that what they were offered was worthwhile. The remainder felt that it wasn’t helpful for them. A further 33% of respondents said that they were not offered career development assistance by their employers.
Why IT Professionals Are Moving Roles
Every year, thousands of IT professionals in Ireland move jobs. More than 80% of respondents told us in January 2023 that they are planning to move jobs. This is similar to 2022’s responses and predictably high for January. We also know from experience that relatively few of those people will actually look for a new role. Each year, as the months on, the figure reduces. First, down to less than 70% planning to move jobs around Summer. Then, later in the year down to only 20%. For those that do decide to change jobs, no matter the season, the motivation to do so can vary.
09. Good Money & People Are The Biggest Motivators For Accepting New Jobs (but WFH is a factor not to be ignored)
For most people, more than half, we’ve found that a better salary is the most important thing to them when finding a new job. Given the situation in Ireland with the cost of living and energy crises, this is to be expected somewhat. The second largest respondent group (25%) said the people they work with matter most.
We also found that the biggest cohort of participants plans to move jobs rather than return to an office-bound role. More than 60% said they had no intention of going back to the office full-time.
At Solas IT Recruitment, we specialise in the permanent and contract placement of IT professionals in specific technical markets. Filling positions ranging from Graduate Developer level to Senior Managerial roles. For more information about how we can help you with your next IT hire, get in touch on 01 244 9520 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.