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Employers worried about rising pay expectations

IBEC says more than a quarter of its member firms plan to take on new staff next year.

Image: Euro Salary via Shutterstock

EMPLOYERS IN IRELAND continue to worry about rising pay expectations among workers and prospective staff.

According to the latest data released by IBEC, firms remain focused on containing costs, despite hiring plans, and 60 per cent of member companies cited growing salary requests as a concern.

The business representative group described the current operating environment as a “fragile domestic economy”, adding that business owners “simply cannot afford to contemplate any increases [in wages]“.

According to chief executive Danny McCoy, there is also good news to share as more than a quarter of members plan to take on new staff next year.

“Keeping costs under control is essential if we are to create new jobs,” he said ahead of IBEC’s annual HR Leadership Summit in Dublin today.

“At the height of the boom many costs, including wages, spiralled out of control, we can’t allow this to happen again. Many companies remain in survival mode and pay expectations need to reflect economic realities.”

The introduction of statutory sick pay is also weighing on the minds of company owners, as are recruitment costs, training expenses and the cost of health insurance.

In fact, 22 per cent of organisations with medical health insurance benefit were reviewing their scheme, and examining changes such as new providers, setting a defined contribution for employees or downgrading the level of cover.

The lobby group has urged the government not to allow next week’s budget set back the jobs recovery “by taking more money from consumers or increasing employment costs”.

It has also requested the reduced VAT rate for the tourism sector and the lower employer PRSI rate for low-wage workers to be maintained.

The latest HR survey showed that 59 per cent of companies expect to retain the same staff numbers throughout next year.

For those planning to lead a recruitment driver, there is some fear that a skills shortage will impact on hiring for IT, software, engineering and technician positions.

The Autumn 2013 survey data was collected in September 2013 from 432 senior HR contacts in Ibec member organisations.

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