Roughly 80 per cent of employees would like to have the option of working remotely when the restrictions are completely eased off.

As we edge closer to phase three of the government’s plan to reopen the Irish economy, it has emerged that 46 per cent (pc) of people have fears about job security, according to a new survey by FRS Recruitment.

This figure has risen dramatically over the last year, but the outlook remains better than at the beginning of the last recession (58pc in 2009).

The FRS Recruitment Employment Insights Survey also revealed that two-thirds of people believe they would gain new employment within three months, if they lost their job – a level similar to the numbers in 2009 (62pc).  

“It is fair to say that the economic uncertainty is having an impact, with the level of concern for job security having risen over the past year”

But despite fears over job security, more than half of people surveyed expect a pay rise over the course of the next 12 months. Conversely, 75pc of respondents said they would consider a reduction in their working week if their job was at risk, with more than half willing to take a wage cut to remain in their role.   

Remote working

As Ireland went into complete lockdown, it meant companies had to change their ways of working, and as a result, four out of five employees would like to continue working from home when the restrictions are eased, with 17pc saying they would prefer to work from home all the time. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, just one in 10 people were working remotely, while 45pc indicated they had some remote working experience. 80pc of respondents said they are either more or equally as productive when working from home.   

For those who do work remotely, the reduction in the time spent commuting to work has proved to be the most popular factor, with three-quarters describing it as a benefit. This is followed by cost savings associated with travelling (59pc) and more time spent with their family (50pc).

Employer attitudes

In separate research, FRS Recruitment also examined current attitudes among employers in Ireland. It found that six in 10 employers are either hiring or plan on hiring within the next six months.

“Both businesses and workers have seen the benefits that can arise from remote working as part of day to day operations”

Despite the turbulence over the last three months, one in four employers say their business has been operating as normal during the pandemic, while another 25pc expect to return to normal operations within 3 months. Interestingly, 65pc of employers believe the Irish economy will recover within two years.   

 “With a lot of uncertainty in the economy about how the country will be impacted as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, this survey set out to gauge attitudes amongst the workforce,” said Colin Donnery, general manager of FRS Recruitment.

“It is fair to say that the economic uncertainty is having an impact, with the level of concern for job security having risen over the past year. However, there is also some comfort to be taken that the Irish people are significantly more optimistic about their jobs being maintained than they were ahead of the last recession in 2009,” he added.     

Mr Donnery also said it is interesting to note how the lockdown has impacted ways of working, with both employees and employers being strongly in favour of remote working options being available post the crisis.

“Both businesses and workers have seen the benefits that can arise from remote working as part of day to day operations, with most recognising that productivity levels have not diminished.

“That has created an appetite for utilising this approach on an ongoing basis and businesses will have to consider offering this as part of their employee packages once the crisis subsides and business begins to return to normal,” he concluded.

A total of 1,951 people participated in the survey, which was conducted over the first two weeks of June. FRS Recruitment is one of the leading recruitment businesses operating in Ireland and has been running variations of this survey in recent years, going back to 2009. 

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 22 June, 2020

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