Northern Ireland’s Tight Labour Market

Northern Ireland is currently experiencing a tight labour market. Demand for labour is quickly outweighing supply, forcing employers to compete for workers and has made employee engagement paramount.

What’s causing this demand for talent?

Rapid decline in new talent entering the Northern Ireland market

The CIPD released a report on the impact of Brexit for employers. The changing migration restrictions, focusing on attracting the brightest and best EU nationals, could have a particularly negative impact if implemented without understanding the need for low skilled industries. 

Workforces need to prepare for Brexit changes and consider where they are going to source individuals with the specific technical skills and knowledge, the willingness to do unattractive, unskilled work, whilst having a strong work ethic, commitment and motivation.

Talent shortage

With the post Brexit labour market delivering talent shortages, many organisations secured temporary contracts, meaning there is less talent available in the market. Those contractors that were on the market are now in permanent positions.

In addition, the low supply of entry level workers has meant the workers available are demanding higher salaries due to their advanced skill sets. 

Low unemployment levels

The NISRA labour survey shows levels of unemployment across Northern Ireland are considerably low, currently sitting at 3.6%, with 28.0% of the NI population economically inactive (21% in the rest of the UK).

Motivators for job seekers eliminated 

People are less motivated to move jobs. The increase in long term remote working has removed some motivators for potential job seekers such as management dislike, colleague disruptions, unenjoyable environments or a long commute. 

Furthermore, with COVID still very much alive, people want security due to the uncertainty that has come with the pandemic. This has resulted in people less likely to move jobs or look for change, favouring job stability. 

How can employers react to the tight labour market?

Due to these factors, HR and management teams need to address employee engagement, employee value proposition and learning and development offerings. It is crucial all supervisors are properly trained and competent in managing people; supporting progression, offering training and development and boast strong communication skills. It is also worthwhile considering reviewing employee salary and packages. 

Retaining employees is key, especially in a tight market. Senior management needs to be trained appropriately and workplaces need to be attractive, inclusive and enjoyable.

Celebrating our Workforce: Nan

Premiere People took time out this week to honour one of our workers for all their hard work and dedication to the health service; Nan.

Nan has worked for Premiere People since 2006 as a Secretary for the Belfast Trust. Due to her long service, we invited Nan to our office and after chatting, we discovered that prior to the pandemic Nan used to work Monday to Thursday so she could have Fridays free. Nan used these Friday's to dedicate her time to those affected by cancer; she would visit people in their homes to allow family members to have a break for a few hours. 

Due to the pandemic, Nan could no longer continue with these visits so she has been working a full 37.5 hours, week in, week out throughout the pandemic at the ripe age of 74! Most people would be glad to have a few hours free on a Friday, but Nan went back to work full time to support throughout these uncertain times. 

I think you will all agree our Nan is truly a remarkable person. Due to her hard work, commitment and support throughout her career - and the COVID-19 pandemic - we were glad to present Nan with her well deserved flowers.

Thank you Nan from everyone at Premiere People - you are an inspiration to us all.

Meet Our New Business Development Manager, Maeve Bouvier

Please introduce yourself!

I'm Maeve Bouvier, Business Development Manager at Premiere People. I have over 12 years of experience in sales and business development working with private, public and voluntary sector clients. My own in-house experience spans engineering, training and development, education and advertising and my experience in the language industry and in export give my profile a valuable international slant. I am really excited to have been appointed Business Development Manager with Premiere People and looks forward to reaching out to private sector companies and existing clients as they embrace the challenge of post pandemic recovery.

What are your main responsibilities and key focus at Premiere People?

I would like to consolidate and continue to build on the relationships with Premiere People’s already impressive client base and strive to expand on this client base with a particular focus on the private sector. I hope to build relationships with HR and Procurement professionals in key clients in the Greater Belfast area and across the province. I will be tasked with designing and delivering temporary and permanent bespoke solutions that are compliant and are created using a consultative and collaborative approach to produce mutually beneficial relationships.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience in Recruitment?

While my experience is mainly in solution selling of products, services and training, I worked on the team that managed a government funded Export Marketing programme. The programme was designed to match Northern Ireland companies with skilled graduates who were tasked with conducting export marketing projects in overseas markets. We worked with sales and marketing professionals in participating companies and with the universities and FE colleges to attract the most suitable talent to undertake the required projects and that were the best match for the company culture. Recently on a company visit I met one of the candidates we placed still in the company heading up the export division now.

What are the key challenges you see clients face?

One of the key challenges clients face will continue to be the acquisition of highly skilled candidates especially those with STEM skills. Companies are competing with the European Market and Global markets for highly skilled workers and this factor, along with Northern Ireland recruitment legislation demand, is proving to be quite tricky. At Premiere People, the consultants think like marketers and are skilled at understanding what appeals to candidates. They are skilled in the psychology of the applicant and they are well placed to deliver on candidate aspirations. In terms of relationship building with our client companies, we aim to create long-term working partnerships by co-designing bespoke solutions that deliver on the aims and objectives of the client. Premiere People work with honesty and integrity in the way that best suits the company. They make it their business to know client companies and understand what is important to them. Being part of the Cordant group offers an extension to the reach and expertise and enhances the value proposition.

What do you think the biggest trend will be in the Northern Ireland recruitment sector this year? 

I have few thoughts on trends in the sector this year. I think there will continue to be scope for job opportunities in ICT and agri-food as well as life sciences. Having been very buoyant during the pandemic; healthcare, pharma and life sciences may well continue to thrive. The demand for high level skills seems likely to continue and will continue to be a challenge for companies and agencies. It seems inevitable that businesses will have post-pandemic recovery high up on their agenda which may bring about an acceleration in talent hiring. Employers will have to work harder to attract and retain good people.  I look forward to the lifting of restrictions which have impacted so considerably on the hospitality and social/not for profit sectors - we are all hoping for a significant rebound in these sectors. A rise in the demand for contract and temporary workers especially in sales, marketing, pharma and tech can already be seen on job platforms, as companies are poised to resume pre pandemic activity. There is a sense of prudent optimism in the market in Northern Ireland.

What are your key objectives for the next 6-months in your new role at Premiere People?

My key objectives are to build on the research and work already carried out by the team at Premiere, to inform strategy and help to consolidate this. I am really looking forward to contributing to the database and getting out in the field to meet with company contacts, listen to their recruitment plans, goals and methods and uncover opportunities to collaborate and add value.

Premiere People win a potential 5 year contract with the NICS

Premiere People win a potential 5 year contract with the NICS, making this their third partnership renewal!

Every four years Premiere People undergo a lengthy and detailed tender process to further extend the NICS partnership.

In January 2021, Premiere People was successfully awarded their third contract, this time being a potential five year contract.

Winning this contract was a result of the company’s strong bid, quality offering and cost saving.

The tender includes the following lots listed below:

  • DfC Administration and Corporate Functions
  • Administration and Corporate Functions (excluding DfC)
  • Environmental, Scientific and Medical
  • Agricultural and Conservation
  • Ancillary and Industrial
  • Youth and Social Care

Significant investment in technology including; video, client portals, online timesheets, live management information, online onboarding, amongst much more, have been embedded into Premiere People’s processes over the last six months.

These digital integrations, joint with the team's hard work, determination, strategic thinking and vision, have positioned Premiere People perfectly to continue supporting the NICS recruitment requirements.

Paul Smith, Managing Director for Premiere People said: "Premiere People are delighted to have renewed our partnership with NICS for a further potential 5 years. We have worked closely with them managing large recruitment drives to support their ongoing requirements.

Together we have navigated our way through all the challenges that COVID has thrown at us, as we find new ways and processes to deliver a first class service.

We continue to make significant investment, particularly in technology, as we have entered an increasingly virtual world.

We look forward to the challenges of the next 5 years and to continuing our mutually beneficial partnership."