An Irish perspective on what the future might look like in a covid-19 world.
COVID-19 is having a huge impact on the shape of the world we live in. It is changing how we interact, work, travel, shop, and think. It is impacting the attitudes of people and forcing them to confront their thinking and make decisions about priorities when it comes to health, relationships, work, and everything in between.
Within all of this, the world of work is changing at a rapid pace. We are engaged in a global remote working experiment, re-evaluating the value of certain roles to society, recognising the ability of companies to pivot and develop synergies with others, and ultimately reassessing the role of work for an individual and the expectations employees have of their companies.
One of the other factors that will change work and talent communities is the mobility of talent in the wake of COVID-19. Can we expect a shift in the attitudes of non-nationals to return to their native country? Will COVID-19 cause people to reconsider being away from friends and family for the purpose of work and will we see a global repatriation movement? Will the possibilities of remote work cause people to return to their native countries and bring their jobs with them or believe that they can find a suitable opportunity?
We conducted a survey in April 2020 to try and understand this mobility in relation to the Irish tech community. We surveyed 300+ Irish ex-pats across the EU, Australia, UK, and the USA about their desire, if any, to return to Ireland, the impact of COVID-19 on this desire, and the other factors which would impact their decisions.
Additionally, we surveyed EU nationals working in Ireland and sought to understand if their attitude to returning to their native country had changed as a result of COVID-19 and once more what would be the drivers and barriers in this decision.
Our surveys revealed that while Ireland’s tech community could expect an increase in returning ex-pats following COVID-19 there was little change in desire to leave from non-nationals based in Ireland. This should bring additional talent to the market and help to meet the demand in the competitive tech hiring landscape.
For ex-pats, there was a 50% increase in the desire to return to Ireland as a result of COVID-19. There is a huge majority who state that emotional drivers like proximity to friends and family would be their main factor in this move.
Meanwhile, for those non-nationals based in Ireland, there was a limited change in attitude. 90% of those who had been looking to stay in Ireland prior to COVID-19 still wanted to stay in the country. There was a recognition of the quality of job opportunities and compensation as well as the lifestyle which could be achieved working in tech in Ireland. While there was an emotional pull to their native countries it was not strong enough to outweigh these strengths and motivate a move.
The Irish tech community looks set to swell in the wake of COVID-19 through the retention of international talent in the market and a return of ex-pats from around the globe. We believe there will be an increased willingness to assess one’s job options and companies will need to be deliberate in their strategies to attract, engage and retain staff following on from COVID-19
Companies can look to build recruitment and hiring strategies based on these mobility insights. There is an opportunity to target the ex-pat talent pool in marketing and engagement and put the foundations in place to ease their move back to Ireland. This could allow companies to tap a fresh talent pool and have a competitive edge following COVID-19.
Meanwhile, for those non-nationals in Ireland, it is imperative to have a strategy in place to counteract the competition in the local market. Providing space and support for international employees to reduce the perceived isolation from friends and families can demonstrate empathy and investment and create a loyal workforce.
As the world increasingly changes around us as a result of COVID-19 it is important for businesses and leaders to be aware of the trends and drivers. In having the information which allows them to scan the horizon companies can capitalise on these changes and emerge from COVID-19 with a competitive edge.
By Seán Galligan, who is Manager at Dublin’s Verify Recruitment, passionate about employer branding and leading the rethinking of the recruitment process, partnering with indigenous technology clients and growing global brands to enable them to hire and build their companies and presence in the Irish market.
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