Business

Survey: Employers increasingly turning to remote staff to fill skilled roles

A new survey suggests more than half (53 per cent) of all employers in the north hiring tech professionals, will turn to remote workers.

ONE-in-four employers in Northern Ireland intend to hire full-time home-based workers following the experience of the past 18 months.

A new survey from the Hays recruitment group found 27 per cent of employers here are now prepared to accept fully remote staff to fill vacancies.

Some 365 employers and 724 employees from Northern Ireland fed into the UK-wide research, which was conducted during August.

The study suggested the propensity for companies to turn to remote staff rises substantially the more skilled the position concerned.

More than half (53 per cent) of all employers hiring tech professionals said they plan to hire staff who are fully remote, followed by 43 per cent of employers who are hiring for HR roles.

It follows a separate survey by the Open University last week, which revealed 44 per cent of employers in Northern Ireland admitting they have been left unable to fill certain roles because of the struggle to find a suitable candidate.

Almost half of the businesses surveyed said finding staff with the right skills will be their biggest challenge in the next five years.

Meanwhile, in Hays’ latest survey, 32 per cent of employers in the north said it was less important that a candidate is based close to the workplace, compared to before the pandemic.

In terms of salary, 80 per cent of Northern Ireland employers said remote workers will be paid the same as office-based staff.

Just 15 per cent said they would pay remote workers more, with five per cent indicating they’ll pay remote staff less.

In a separate poll conducted by Hays, 80 per cent of respondents said they don’t believe fully remote workers should be paid less than in office workers.

Managing director of Hays in Northern Ireland, John Moore, said he was encouraged by the number of employers prepared to hire remote staff.

“Not only does this give employers access to a wider talent pool at a time when competition for staff is high – it also opens up opportunities for those who might have accessibility issues, or people who might feel more comfortable in a remote environment.”

“For employers who are struggling to hire the talent they need, it is perhaps time to think about which roles within your organisation could be done remotely and to what extent,” he said.

“There are lessons to be learnt from tech employers who have been early adopters of remote and distributed working as employers who are prepared to be flexible and open-minded about where their talent is located will have a better chance at closing the skills gap.”

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