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Survey: Nearly half of Dublin jobseekers are looking for better salaries

April 28, 2017
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Nearly half of Dublin jobseekers are in work but actively looking for a new role, with a desire to increase salary being the largest motivating factor. Meanwhile, 74% of people believe that employers took advantage of the recession to keep salaries low. Meanwhile, more than half of people (53%) believe the gender pay gap continues to be a significant issue in Ireland, according to a survey carried out this month.

The survey, carried out by Jobs Expo Dublin, found that 42% were looking for a better salary and perks; 39% complained about lack of opportunity for growth in their current position; and 23% were generally unhappy in their work environment. Dublin is the desired place to work by a large majority of people (70%).

The Jobs Expo survey also found that 37% have applied for jobs abroad in recent years, with the UK being the most popular work destination.

In addition, 73% believed that employers took advantage of the recession to keep salaries and conditions low for employees. In addition, over the last twelve months, 40% of people have applied for between one and five jobs, while 16% have applied for up to ten.

The survey explored a range of other issues and concerns relating to employment and covered people employed in a multitude of sectors such as financial, medical, legal, IT, science, engineering, media, digital, education, hospitality, retail and traders.

Jobs Expo takes place this coming Saturday 22nd April at Croke Park.

“The survey makes it clear that many employees are unhappy with their current roles and salaries,” says Jobs Expo’s Bronagh Cotter. “Given the time and expense to hire qualified staff, this is a significant factor that employers should take onboard. A great deal of the time, salaries don’t appear to be open to negotiation. If employees feel underpaid, they feel undervalued in other ways too”.

Where and Why

The majority of respondents (70%) were Dublin-based, with 26% from elsewhere in Ireland. 70% were looking for work in the capital. However, 15% were happy to work anywhere in Ireland.

The Jobs Expo survey also found that 37% have applied for j+obs abroad in recent years. The most common reasons for applying abroad was to gain career experience (32%) and to gain cultural experience (19%). The UK was the most popular overseas destination for jobseekers. Nearly half (46%) of those looking for work outside Ireland applied for positions here. Other popular locations included Europe (32%), Canada (22%), the USA (20%) and Australia (15%).


Salary was the primary reason most respondents were looking for a new job. Over half (53%) said that their last salary offer was unfair. Many had good reason to be unhappy with the remuneration offered by employers, with 70% saying their salary was not open to negotiation.

73% believed that employers took advantage of this to keep salaries and conditions low. Just over two-thirds (64%) of respondents have been paid less than a colleague with the same education and experience. 64% say they have been paid a lower salary than a colleague with either less education or experience. On the tricky subject of the gender pay gap, 53% believe that women in Ireland earn less than equally skilled colleagues; Only 14% feel that the gender pay gap doesn’t exist, while 33% are unsure.

Finding Work

Respondents were very pro-active finding work: 65% having used a recruitment agency; 61% use jobs boards and 60% have looked for work on LinkedIn. The traditional media is still popular – 31% have looked for work through newspaper and radio jobs listings. In the last twelve months, 40% of people have applied for between one and five jobs, while 16% have applied for up to ten.

Main Factors When Seeking Employment

The survey asked respondents what was most important to them when looking for a new job. The factors, in order of preference, were:

  • Salary
  • Good working environment
  • Opportunity for career advancement
  • Company stability and reputation
  • Proximity to home

Bad Working Environments

Just under a quarter of respondents (23%) were unhappy with their current company environment. For 11%, their manager or colleagues were a major problem. Quite a few claim to have experienced what they describe as ‘illegal’ behaviour at work. Nearly a third (31%) claim to have endured inappropriate comments about their clothes or body. Approximately 10% claim to have experienced inappropriate touching or physical sexual harassment. 16% claimed to have been asked about their plans to have children or the number of children they had by interviewers during job interviews.

Upskilling and Changing Sectors

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents would like to change sectors. In addition, 13% are considering a change because of lack of opportunities in their current sector. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that 51% of respondents will be upskilling or entering part-time education on their own initiative this year. A further 9% will do so as part of workplace training. Furthermore, 52% don’t think employers are doing enough to encourage upskilling.

About the Jobs Expo

The Jobs & Employment in Dublin 2017 survey was conducted in April 2017 by Jobs Expo Dublin. The next Jobs Expo event takes place in Cork on Thursday 25 May 2017.

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