More than a third of Irish employers are planning to hire for fully remote roles, with two-thirds of these suggesting this is an entirely new policy, according to new research from recruitment specialist Hays Ireland.

The data also shows that one in five hiring employers is currently offering signing-on bonuses to new employees.

And against a backdrop of ongoing talent shortages, 45 per cent of employers say they sometimes make counter-offers to hold on to staff, with 13 per cent saying counter-offers are a routine element of the staff retention policies. However, just over four in 10 companies say they have a policy of not making counter-offers in any circumstance.

Almost two in five (38 per cent) employers say they are more likely to make counter-offers to existing employees now than they were six months ago.

Elsewhere, just over a third of bosses say that employee salaries will increase in the next three months with more than half of those suggesting these projected increases are influenced by the rising cost of living.

Inflation in Ireland is running at an annualised rate of 9.1 per cent and the rising cost of living has placed a renewed focus on employee salaries and employee benefits, which has prompted a variety of responses from employers looking to recruit and retain the best talent.

In total, 45 per cent of employers claim to have provided employee pay increases in the last three months. The research suggests that many employers have moved to provide supports to employees outside the traditional area of salary.

Sixteen per cent of companies say they are providing free access to financial adviser services, while 8 per cent are offering supermarket discounts, 6 per cent are distributing household utility vouchers, and 5 per cent are facilitating employee loans.

Maureen Lynch, director at Hays Ireland, said: “The Irish recruitment landscape is constantly evolving. This places an acute expectation on employers to evolve their employee offerings and recruitment strategies in parallel.

“One of the key challenges to emerge in 2022 is the rising cost of living. This trend is not specific to Ireland, however, Irish inflation rates are currently running above the European average.

“Irish-based employers have responded with a range of measures, including salary increases, a renewed emphasis on fully remote roles and an unprecedented rate of counter-offering to potentially departing staff.”

Overall, she said, the jobs market remains “candidate-driven”, with many employers in sectors such as banking and finance, technology, construction, and engineering finding it tough to source talent despite reports of a potential economic slowdown.

“In light of this ongoing competition for the best talent, we would advise corporates to continue to re-evaluate their recruitment and retention strategies to stay ahead of the competition,” she said. “What proved successful 12 months ago, may no longer be fit for purpose today. Those who recognise this distinction are best placed to navigate the current macro environment.”

The research was carried out in July and received 690 responses from Irish-based employers and employees.