The jobs survey, carried out at the beginning of September also found that 46 percent of respondents think the economy is improving. Despite that, more than half are worried about their children’s employment prospects.
The survey was conducted by Jobs Expo Galway, which takes place at the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday 16 September. The survey takes place twice a year and explores a range of issues and concerns relating to employment in the West of Ireland. Almost half (46 percent) of the survey respondents were originally from Galway; 36 percent were from elsewhere in Ireland; and 16 percent had moved to Galway from a country in the EU.
The majority of the respondents are highly educated. Over a third (38 percent) graduated from a third-level institution. In addition, 37 percent have obtained a postgraduate degree. A further 15 percent have some third-level education.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they were prepared to rest on their laurels. A huge 44 percent of respondents plan on upskilling, through their own initiative, over the next year. An additional 14 percent will be taking part in workplace training.
Over half (55 percent) of our survey respondents had five or more years of experience working in their current sector. A further 13 percent had between 3 and 5 years of experience.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of our survey respondents worked in Galway’s busiest employment sectors. A fifth work in information technology and 16 percent are employed in science, engineering or medtech. The medical as well as banking and financial services sectors employ a further 8 percent each. Hospitality and retail employ 7 percent of our respondents respectively, while only 4 percent work in education, media or trades.
Over half (53 percent) are looking for work in the Galway region. Ireland’s other major cities are not a draw however. Only 7 percent are looking for work in Dublin. The Rebel City fares even worse. A mere 1 percent is looking for employment in Cork.
While 44 percent would move if necessary, 32 percent are not considering leaving. Despite this, 85 percent of respondents told us that they would leave Galway for the right job. Interesting enough, only 8 percent would leave if their partner had an employment opportunity elsewhere. In fact, far more people would leave for education (14 percent), to live in a small, rural community (12 percent) or just for a change (11 percent) than for a partner’s career!
Our February 2017 jobs survey found that other than salary, an easy commute is very important when considering a new job. This has not changed. Our respondents told us that these were the top 5 factors when choosing a job.
It is, perhaps, unsurprising that salary was the most important factor for our respondents. However, it appears employers are not very flexible when it comes to remuneration. Three quarter of respondents who had received a recent job offer told us that the salary was not negotiable. The same percentage of respondents told us this in our February 2017 survey. In February, 52 percent said that the salary offered was fair; in September this slightly increased to 54 percent.
A good working environment came in at No.4 when our respondents were looking for a new job. It seems, however, that the vast majority of respondents experienced the opposite at some point during their working lives.
Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) had worked for employers that made unreasonable demands or had unrealistic expectations. Equally troubling was that 52 percent had been bullied by a manager, while 34 percent have been bullied by colleagues.
Just over a third (34 percent) complained to HR. However, of these, only a quarter felt the situation had been resolved satisfactorily.
There were a couple of changes our respondents wanted to see in employment legislation. The most important of these was banning zero hour contracts. Other suggestions we heard was that unpaid overtime should not be allowed, that employees should not be let go for voicing an opinion, and that it should be mandatory for employers to undertake employment rights courses.
One person noted that certain employers took advantage of the fact that unemployment had been high. We heard complaints that some employers replaced workers frequently so that they could minimise their obligations to employees.
Despite this, 35 percent of respondents think life is improving for employees in Ireland.
The recession may have passed, but that does not mean that everybody is benefitting from our improving economy. Under a half (46 percent) of respondents told us that things were easier now than they had been. However, 35 percent said that they had not seen any improvement. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that 52 percent were worried about their children’s employment prospects.
The economy in the West of Ireland is continuing to improve and many companies are looking to recruit and expand. But it seems there are a number of unhappy employees in the Galway region.
“A few years back most of us were just happy to have a job, but for that has changed,” says Jobs Expo’s Kevin Branigan. “Most of our survey respondents are educated and experienced, so they want to be valued by their employers.”
“Salary is still the most important factor when looking for a new job, but in February and again now, our Galway respondents have told us that proximity to home is their second most important consideration. Companies can’t change their location, but they can look at flexible starting times, or allowing employees to work from home on a couple of days a week. All of these can mean that employees don’t waste hours every day commuting,” he said.
Companies need to pay attention to staff well-being says Kevin.
“Employers should be concerned that over a third of our Galway respondents are actively looking for a new job. Happy employees don’t leave. They work hard and are loyal. However, they have to feel that the company is loyal to them too. Recruitment and training new staff is costly. When you find the right people, it is in your interest to keep them!”
Jobs Expo returns to Galway on Saturday 16 September at the Galway Bay Hotel from 10am to 4pm. The event he event features more than 30 leading employers from Ireland and abroad, a day of seminars on the Agenda Stage and free career guidance advice in the Career Clinic.
Companies taking part include Boston Scientific, SmartBear, SiteMinder, LotusWorks, PhoneWatch, Ashford Castle, Aviva, RSA, Cpl Resources, Advance Pitstop, Goodman Medical Ireland and Tandem Project Management. Jobs Expo is free of charge.
Those wishing to attend can register for FREE admission at www.jobsexpo.ie/register.